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For Release — May 3, 2016

PPI Releases Analysis of March Job Figures
While job growth and unemployment figures remain mostly positive, a deeper analysis points to underlying weaknesses

ALBANY, N.Y.—The Public Policy Institute has posted its “Monthly Economic Update,” and jobs “Snapshot” for March 2016. These new jobs and unemployment figures show the continuation of modest growth in New York State overall, but also highlight the ongoing economic struggles throughout much of upstate.

The Economic Update shows the state’s private sector job count increasing by 1.7 percent, compared to March 2015, below the national growth rate of 2.3 percent. The state saw strong growth rates in the construction, information and – as usual - education/health services sectors. However, manufacturing jobs in New York continue to decline. In fact, based on additional research by The Business Council, New York is one of only nine states to lose manufacturing jobs over the past 5 years, a period that saw national industrial employment grow by 7 percent. (Details on our manufacturing sector will be in a future release.)

New York continued to roughly track the national unemployment rate, at 5.1 and 5.2 percent respectively; and all regions of New York State saw their jobless rate decline over the past 12 months, although some of these declines were due more to reductions in local labor force than increases in employment. The state’s highest unemployment rates were in Watertown (7.3 percent), Elmira and Glens Falls (both at 6 percent).

Our “Snapshot” shows in-state regional job growth over the past twelve months, since pre-recession 2008 and since 2000 – in order to provide a longer term understanding of regional economic performance. The data continue to show a “tale of two states,” with downstate growth generally exceeding national averages, and most of upstate lagging behind. In fact, the twelve month job change in upstate was basically zero, with an 800 position increase on a base of 2.3 million. Some areas of upstate, including the mid-Hudson and Syracuse regions, still have not fully recovered private sector jobs lost in the recession.

“We continue to focus on the challenges facing the upstate economy,” said Heather C. Briccetti, Esq., president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, Inc. “In our conversations with the governor’s office, the Senate and the Assembly, we are emphasizing the need to focus on broad-based reforms that will help upstate grow. We have a month and a half of session remaining to enact significant reforms in areas including workers’ compensation, energy assessments and small business tax levies.”

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The Public Policy Institute of New York State, Inc. is a research and educational organization whose purpose is to formulate and promote public policies that will restore New York's economic competitiveness. The Institute accomplishes this mission by conducting timely, in-depth research addressing key state policy issues. Founded in 1981 and affiliated with The Business Council of New York State, Inc., The Institute is a non-partisan, tax-exempt, 501 (c) (3) organization. The Institute depends on the support of corporations, individuals, and foundations for its income, and does not accept any government funding.