There are two ways in which Syracuse can benefit from the pandemic, according to the President of the New York Fed

Syracuse, NY – The coronavirus pandemic has certainly damaged the Syracuse area’s economy, killing thousands of jobs. However, the President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York believes the pandemic could potentially help the region’s economy in several ways as well.

John Williams, who joined the New York Federal Reserve in 2018 after serving seven years in the same role at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, held a series of video meetings with business executives from the Syracuse area this week. Meetings focused on the pandemic and its business impact.

Williams said he got away from the meetings and saw some ways the region’s economy can benefit from the lasting changes the pandemic will bring.

Remote workforce

The pandemic has forced many people to work from home. And moving to a remote workforce is unlikely to change after the pandemic ends, Williams said. This could benefit places like Syracuse, where the cost of housing and others is much lower than in large metropolitan areas, he said.

“There are people who think that the cost of living in New York or other big cities is really prohibitive,” Williams said.

“You can have a much better work-life balance and lifestyle if, for example, you own a home in or around Syracuse. I think it opens people up to some of the benefits of the low-cost areas, and I think companies will think about how to get that talent for it. “

The move to remote working could also open up Syracuse businesses to a larger workforce as they can hire workers regardless of where they live, he said.

“Companies think, hey, we’ve been able to do some jobs remotely quite effectively. Maybe we can keep doing that, and that can help expand the pool of manpower available to work in the area,” said Williams.

On-shoring supply chains

Many companies saw their global supply chains disrupted during the pandemic. Williams said Syracuse could benefit from likely efforts by American companies to bring manufacturing back to the US to simplify and protect those supply chains.

“The pandemic really showed that those very long, complex supply chains that go around the world a few times before you get the end product that you produce have really been disrupted by the pandemic,” he said. “Just the complexity of the supply chains, they’re not that pandemic resilient, and I think companies are considering, if they can, bringing in more suppliers to be more local.”

“That might be an opportunity for the region to attract some of that production,” he said. “I don’t think it’s going to be a complete U-turn from longer-term trends where manufacturing is less of a role, but it might be a certain linchpin for that.”

Rick Moriarty covers business news and consumer issues. Do you have a tip, a comment or a story idea? Contact him at any time: E-Mail | Twitter | Facebook | 315-470-3148

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