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December 18, 2007

Report finds Upstate employment lags downstate and nation

Job growth in Upstate New York has increased modestly over the past few years but remained below the average employment growth of downstate and the nation, according to a new report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The report, the latest in a series of reports on Upstate New York by the bank, also attributed the region's record-low unemployment levels to its declining population and labor force numbers.

And while the region did seem employment gains in some sectors between 2004 and 2007, the report said those gains were offset by job losses in three sectors: manufacturing; information; and trade, transportation and utilities.

“The most significant employment losses were in the manufacturing industry,” the report said. Between 2000 and 2006, the Upstate region lost 85,000, or nearly 20 percent, of its manufacturing jobs, the report said. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the national average loss was less than 18 percent.

The report said that manufacturing job losses continued into 2007 and were unlikely to reverse anytime soon. “These adverse job trends continue to dampen overall job growth in Upstate New York,” the report said.

Some areas of the Upstate region experienced better job growth than others, the report said.

“Three areas—Albany, Glens Falls, and Ithaca—have added jobs throughout the decade, led by a significant expansion of employment in education and health services,” the report said.

Binghamton, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse also saw employment upswings in 2007, after suffering for years from heavy manufacturing losses.

But, Elmira and the Utica-Rome metro area have experienced “sharp” declines in employment in 2000 and “have been unable to sustain a recovery,” the report noted.

The Federal Reserve Bank projected the region's overall job growth would be 0.5 percent for 2007, representing 20,000 net new jobs.

The Business Council's not-for-profit research affiliate, the Public Policy Institute, also tracks employment numbers by industry and region. Those numbers, which are updated each month, use data from federal and state agencies to track employment trends across major employment sectors and compare regional employment growth to the national average.

The most recent numbers show that New York State's private-sector job growth rate between October 2006 and October 2007 nearly matched the national average. But while New York City's job growth rate exceeded the nation's, Upstate's growth was only one-fifth that of New York York City's. Statewide, the fastest growing sectors were professional and business services, financial activities and leisure and hospitality.

Statistics by region and industry are at: www.ppinys.org/nyecon/stats.pdf.
The Upstate Economic Snapshot is at: www.ppinys.org/nyecon/upstate_jobs.pdf.

More information on the Federal Reserve's report is at www.ny.frb.org/newsevents/news/research/2007/rp071218.html.