Jefferson County residents happy with economy, survey says

Jefferson County survey

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Despite the pandemic, an annual survey reveals a better-than-expected perception of the economy in Jefferson County.

On Tuesday, the Jefferson Community College’s Center for Community Studies released its annual county survey for 2020.

Nearly 600 people participated. The data was collected in October instead of last April. It was delayed because of the pandemic.

Research coordinator Larry Danforth says that as of last fall, the pandemic had not yet changed people’s minds on the local economy as much as you might think. A significant number of people believe that the availability of good jobs is high.

“The perception was, you know, we know people are struggling with jobs and so on and so forth,” Danforth said. “And the fact that we saw the availability of good jobs to be the highest ever was just shocking.”

About a third of people surveyed said the availability of good jobs is either good or excellent.

People were also asked their thoughts on the overall state of the economy. Danforth says that result is another surprising number.

“The poor rating for the overall state of the economy is 18 percent,” he said, “which is actually a couple percentage points lower than what we saw in 2019.”

Making its debut on this year’s survey was the question of marijuana. Nearly 60 percent of people surveyed support the sale of marijuana in Jefferson County and more than two-thirds are in favor of allowing farmers to grow it.

“If New York state approves it, it may be something that is going to be a local level decision,” Danforth said.

Danforth points out that approval is higher in Jefferson County than Lewis County.

The Center for Community Studies will conduct its 2021 survey next month.

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