Quiet week marked by positive signs

I’m sure much of Westchester will jump-start its annual Labor Day exodus to Long Island, the Jersey Shore and Cape Cod on the early side (well, maybe not Long Island, where residents are still waiting on power to be restored) so without further delay, here’s the Week in Review (Labor Day Edition):

FIRST – THE GOOD NEWS…

> The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index of manufacturing activity for August came in at 50.6, well above projections of 48.5 (a number >50 shows expansion while a number <50 represents contraction).

> Jobless claims declined by 12,000 last week to 409,000 (lower than projections of 410,000) following the resolution (for now at least) of the Verizon labor dispute.

> Lost amidst news surrounding the proposed Google and AT&T mergers, IBM acquired two data analysis firms (Algorithmics for $347 million and i2 for an undisclosed amount).

AND FOR THE NOT SO GOOD NEWS…

> Irene left her mark on the county, but as images of the damage in upstate NY and Vermont have surfaced over the past several days, it is safe to say that Westchester’s business owners are better off than many. That said, the economic damage from this one will be felt for some time…

  • Yesterday Gov. Cuomo put the cost estimate of Irene for the entire state at roughly $1 billion. Realistically, the final cost for businesses is going to be significantly higher than that – perhaps as much as double that initial estimate – one the extent of the flooding is surveyed over the coming weeks and the lost business (due to repairs, closures) is accounted for.  
  • Con-Edison hasn’t made many new friends this past week among Westchesterites, with many portions of the county still waiting for power to be fully restored.
  •  Insurance companies have apparently done well for themselves; typically insurance companies can be expected to foot half the total bill for hurricanes etc., but in this case forecasters are projecting insurance costs ranging from 30-40%.

> Regardless of their results on the field, the Mets come into the holiday weekend big losers after a proposed $200 million deal with investor David Einhorn for a 33% stake in the team fell through.

Happy Monday Morning! Report – the Week Ahead:

> In the, “We have to get this news item out of the way” category:

  • METRO NORTH WILL RESUME SERVICE AT 2PM, WILL RUN ON A SUNDAY SCHEDULE.
  • Over 100,000 Con-Edison customers without power; company expects power to be restored by Thurs. Sept. 1 at the latest.
  • Reports indicate Sound Shore, Saw Mill River area hardest-hit in Westchester County.
  • Early estimates put Irene damage at $7 billion, according to the New York Times, with insurance companies being hit with an estimated $2.6 billion in costs.
  • The A.M. Best Co. has estimated disaster-related losses from 2011 at $27 billion through June 30 (so figure much higher when you include damage incurred since), making this year one of the costliest in recent history.

> Consumer spending in the U.S. increased by 0.8% in July (after falling by 0.1 percent in June), marking a major turn-around and a positive sign for the economy. Economists had expected gains of 0.5%.

> Personal income data, housing index and manufacturing index due out this week – stay tuned.

> In the coming weeks, the Business Journal will be closely following Gov. Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development councils and the newly-launched “NY Open for Business” campaign; check back here for more analysis as those stories develop.