Economic Outlook 2017

This piece, written by Marty Vanags of the Saratoga Prosperity Partnership, originally appeared in the January 2017 issue of the Saratoga Business Journal.

Toward the end of 2016, the Dow Jones was edging close to 20,000 points. At the beginning of 2016 no one would have predicted it could get so high. No one thought Donald J. Trump would be president-elect and no one thought the Chicago Cubs would win the World Series after a 108-year dry spell.

In our age of fast news, fake news, information overload and FOMO (fear-of-missing-out for non-millennials), a prediction, about anything, at least in the short term, is nearly impossible to make.

Economic predictions are difficult because world events and domestic policy in finance, trade and monetary maneuverings are out of our immediate control. With a new, untested president about to assume office with no previous governmental track record, it is hard to know exactly what will occur in 2017.

Here’s what we do know: economic development is both a process and an outcome. The process requires a lot of hard work, predominately building and maintaining relationships, whether it be with existing business owners, industry and corporate site selectors or the public sector. Economic development is also an outcome. This is the part most people recognize and understand. It is the headline about jobs and capital investment we read about.

These results can only come from hard work that happens today. It doesn’t occur from relishing headlines from the past. To grow, we as a community must continue to devote time and resources, and have a unified voice promoting our greatest asset: Saratoga County itself.

The Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership is committed to both the economic development process and the outcome. Leading a public-private team effort, we are working with area businesses, educators, utilities and local government to overcome obstacles and capitalize on opportunities to grow and expand. We are partnering with local land owners and developers to create shovel-ready sites with appropriate infrastructure to accommodate businesses considering Saratoga County as a location for investment.

We are leveraging applicable state and local incentive programs and we are working with local, state and federal government representatives in a bond of trust and commitment to be transparent, accountable and open.

As president of the public-private Partnership, I am acutely aware of our commitment to Saratoga County and am happy to prognosticate and say the outlook for 2017 is, in fact, good.

Increasing numbers of site selectors are looking and considering Saratoga County as a location. Increasing numbers of advance manufacturing companies are considering our location. Increasing number of local companies are enjoying success and are seeking opportunities to grow, to become more efficient, and to hire local people.

Any sales person or trainer will tell you it is a “numbers game.” The more opportunities one has to sell, the likelihood opportunities to affect a positive “buy” goes up. It’s the same in economic development.

We are creating our own future and we know what the results will be. The Partnership’s public-private model, one replicated and used around the world to conduct economic development, will result in a strong economy in 2017 and beyond.