Three conferences during an eight-day period brought more than 900 people to Niagara Falls. A report in this week's Business First says the conferences, collectively, have a projected $450,000 local economic impact in the Falls area. One of the conferences was the U.S.-China Business and Trade Development convention. That brought in 200 business and government officials. Two others brought in visitors from across the state. Hotel occupancy hit 84 percent in Niagara Falls in August, compared to the national rate of only 66 percent.
Student loan defaults are on the rise. The Department of Education says the default rate for federal student loans increased to almost 9 percent in 2009 It was 7 percent in 2008. Students at for-profit schools posted the highest default rate at 15%. The report, in this week's Business First, says hard economic times are making it more difficult for students to repay their loans so the government is working on more education reform.