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Cuomo Praises Economy Efforts Despite Elevated Unemployment Numbers

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Governor Andrew Cuomo praised his administration's efforts to aid the New York State economy at a Wednesday ceremony where regional state grants were announced, but the latest unemployment figures put the state's unemployment rate a full point ahead of the national rate. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

You've probably seen the commercials, including one voiced by actor Robert De Niro with a Jay-Z track underneath.

Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration has been running the ads to encourage private-sector investment in New York State, and according to the administration, they have been very successful in getting out the message that New York is open for business.

"This is working, my friends," Cuomo said. "It's working. It's only been two years, and you can't expect the entire economy to turn around in two years, and you are not going to see a dramatic increase in numbers quickly."

But the truth is, New York's unemployment rate is the 10th-highest in the nation, something the governor appeared to blame on the national economy.

"Because we haven't had the national economy at our back yet," he said. "We have been doing all of this with the national economy basically positive but more stagnant."

The numbers tell a different story. According to the latest unemployment figures, New York State's unemployment rate is 8.7 percent, a full point higher the the national rate of 7.7 percent. New York City's rate is 9.3 percent.

The governor presided over a ceremony at the Capitol Wednesday, where regional state grants were announced.

New York City received a total of $51 million for 50 projects, including redeveloping the hospital at the Brooklyn Navy Yard into a new media center, and wetlands mitigation to facilitate development along the waterfront.

A total of $738 million in economic development funds were distributed through the state's Regional Economic Development Councils created by the governor.

"The days of depending on a single mega manufacturer to provide all of the region's job needs has faded away," said State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. "That one-size-fits all approach to economic development is ineffective."

New York City's regional council received the second-lowest total of grants. The Finger Lakes region received the highest.

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