Thursday New York Lieutenant governor Kathy Hochul spoke at a business round-table event at the Tioga Chamber of Commerce in Owego.

She addressed key issues to the local business community and we asked if the southern tier will become an economic powerhouse in the state.

Hochul said, "Well actually, look at factors such as unemployment. The unemployment rate here is about 5.3 percent in Tioga County and most of the Southern Tier. That's about two points lower than it was a couple years ago. So the jobs are coming back. Other areas such as New York City, when you compare to that, are doing better. You know there are some recently releases number but that was based on a 5 year trend and if you look at the stats, just in the last six months in areas like the Southern Tier, the numbers are coming back. It depends what study you're looking at."

Hochul also had stops in Hornell during her tour.

Endwell Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo also spoke with Fox 40 on the jobs issue at Thursday's annual Blues and Barbecue fundraiser in Endicott. We asked why the Southern Tier appears to be behind the rest of the state, she said, "I think there are a few reasons. Certainly we've been at a disadvantage being on the border of Pennsylvania where costs are so much less in taxes and other fees. So we have a disadvantage there. I also think we've been a little slow in recovering from the economic downturn and diversifying our manufacturing base and our approaches to the economy."

Lupardo was hosting the Blues and Barbecue event which is in its 11th year.

It featured Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle as a special guest.