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      CNY expected to see economic growth this year

      From Destiny USA to downtown Syracuse, Central New York's economy showed slow but steady growth last year. CenterState CEO Rob Simpson, speaking at the CenterState's annual Economic Forecast Breakfast, says Central New York should continue to see economic growth this year. "People here want to see it and to believe it and now you can tangibly see the signs. You have cranes in the air. You have people that are beginning to hire again. The economy is growing. Not as quickly as we want, but it's growing," he said.

      Destiny USA is part of that growth, bringing in more than 26.2 million visitors to the region last year. So is Downtown Syracuse, which has a 99-percent occupancy rate and nineteen new businesses which opened up last year. Sandy Baker, Director of Development for Research and Marketing Strategies says close to 70-percent of local businesses surveyed expect to see economic growth in the coming year. "People are starting to feel the comeback of this community, the comeback of employment, the comeback of manufacturing and we know that's where some of the growth is," she said.

      CenterState say indicators point to a slight recovery in manufacturing. Simpson says a growing demand from overseas markets is helping the recovery. "95 percent of consumers around the world are outside the United States today and more companies outside of Central New York are waking up to the market opportunity that exists in Brazil, India, South Africa, Singapore and China. These are places where consumers are spending money and we have businesses that are making goods and services that those consumers want," he said. But Simpson says Central New York's economic comeback isn't without it's challenges. While unemployment was down slightly last year, he says the poverty rate remains stubbornly high.