UPDATED: Lobbying by Westchester County businesses declined in ’11

UPDATED 3/23:

Check out the second half of our lobbying report, which looks into the firms that Westchester companies most frequently employed to lobby on their behalf, and how those lobbying firms have adjusted to regulatory changes implemented since last June — just posted to Westfair Online!

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We hear all the time about how lobbyists are supposedly dominating politics.

Well, in this week’s edition, I wrote about how lobbying among Westchester companies actually¬†declined from 2010 to 2011 – by nearly 7.5 percent, in fact. In 2011, according to state records, 81 companies spent a grant total of just over $5 million on lobbying for state and local issues, compared to 84 companies spending just under $5.5 million in 2010 (note: federal lobbying was not part of the records).

Notably, 12 companies spent more than $100,000 each on lobbying in 2011, and four of the top ten spenders were in the health care field. The biggest spender was Entergy Corp. at $506,800.

Also of note, 30 companies spent at least $10,000 less in 2011 than in 2010, while 25 companies spent at least $10,000 more last year than the previous year.

The first part of the report was in this week’s edition, and can be found here. The second part of the report, which focuses on the lobbyists themselves, will be in our 3/26 edition and will be posted online tomorrow or Saturday – so stay tuned!

Private sector buoys Westchester job growth

The Westchester County unemployment rate in July dropped to 6.7 percent (down from 6.8 percent in June), the state Dept. of Labor announced yesterday.

Here are a few nuggets from the report:

  • From July 2010 to this past July, private sector jobs grew at a rate of 1.9 percent. Compare that to the period from July ’09-July ’10, when the private sector contracted by 0.1 percent. Big shift? Absolutely.
  • July is typically one of the slowest months for hiring, and we still saw a drop in the unemployment rate.
  • Growth came across four of the major industry sectors (Trade/Transportation/Utilities – 1,200 jobs over the past year; Professional and Business Services – 2,000 jobs; Private Education and Health Services – 2,600 jobs; Leisure and Hospitality – 5,000 jobs). Diversity is always a good thing.

(For more on the Westchester employment picture, pick up the Aug. 29 issue of the Westchester County Business Journal or check us out online at Westfaironline.com)