JANUARY 2019 • LONGISLANDPRESS.COM 19
THE AMAZON EFFECT
Amazon's Long Island City campus is creating both jobs and controversy.
BY JAMES BERNSTEIN
When Amazon announced it would locate one of its two new headquarters in
heavily industrialized Long Island City, Queens, the giant online retailer said it would
ultimately add 25,000 high-paying jobs and invest $2.5 billion into the New York
region, eliciting cheers from thankful city and state officials.
While many in the business community said Amazon's presence will attract more
companies and more jobs to the area, with some even predicting the advent of a Silicon
Valley East here, the reaction was more mixed among those in Long Island’s tech world.
Tech companies in Nassau and Suffolk counties have struggled to recruit and retain
younger tech workers, with many complaining about the lack of affordable housing.
The difficulties these companies face deepened in the last two years, when the
Island's unemployment dropped sharply. The unemployment rate is now at about 3.1
percent, the lowest it has been in about a decade. No wonder then that Amazon's
announcement, including the promise of paying average annual salaries of more
than $150,000, sent chills along the spines of many in LI's tech community.
“I’m all for economic development,” says Anne Shybunko-Moore, CEO of GSE Dynamics
Inc., a defense-electronics company in Hauppauge. “But my concerns are the salary
competition this will bring about. We will have a company in the area that pays high
salaries, and I already pay more than the minimum w WHAT’S INSIDE age.” continued on page 20
23 CORNER OFFICE 24SHAKERS
LI COMPANIES FEAR LOSING TALENT TO AMAZON'S NEW LONG ISLAND CITY OFFICE