Report: New York’s Valuable Manufacturing Sector Continues to See Slow Growth and Sluggish Return to Pre-Recession Levels


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Report: New York’s Valuable Manufacturing Sector Continues to See Slow Growth and Sluggish Return to Pre-Recession Levels

ALBANY, NY – A new report by the Public Policy Institute, an educational and research organization affiliated with The Business Council of New York State, outlines the continuing importance of manufacturing to the state, and to the state’s regional economies, even as New York’s manufacturing sector continues to lag behind a strong national recovery in production jobs.   

“Manufacturing by the Numbers” is the second edition of a PPI report that highlights manufacturing’s role in the New York State and U.S. economies by focusing on jobs and payroll data.

Report Highlights

Manufacturing’s Outsized Share of Regional Jobs and Wages 
Despite representing just 5.7 percent of New York’s private sector jobs, compared to 10.5 percent nationally, manufacturing continues to have a significant impact on local economies and families in New York State. The report finds manufacturing provided more than twenty percent of all private sector jobs in twelve counties, and more than 10 percent in thirty-five counties.

At a time when there is an increased focus on good paying jobs, in 2018, average compensation for manufacturing jobs exceeded average wages for private sector, non-manufacturing, jobs in every county except New York County (Manhattan). In thirty-two counties, manufacturing jobs paid on average at least $20,000 more than the average private sector non-manufacturing job. 

Additionally, the manufacturing sector is responsible for more than 30 percent of all private sector wages in nine New York counties, and more than 20 percent in twenty-four counties.

Lagging Behind National Trends
Manufacturing employment has been on a steady decline both across the U.S. and in New York State for decades, due in part to increased efficiency and automation within industrial firms and significant competition from foreign competitors. However, New York’s decline has outpaced the national sector job loss rate.  Since 2001, U.S. manufacturing employment has fallen by 22.8 percent, while in New York the decline was more than 50% greater, with a rate of 36.8 percent.

More recently, national manufacturing jobs have increased every year from 2010 through 2018, inclusive, for a post-recession increase of 1.16 million jobs, or 10.1 percent, and thirty-nine states saw manufacturing job growth.  Over that same period, New York lost more than 14,000 industry jobs (-3.1 percent), the largest decline of any state. Most of the states with large post-recession manufacturing job growth have a significant number of auto sector and related jobs, a relatively small share of New York’s industrial sector.

Inconsistent Policies Toward Manufacturing
“Manufacturing continues to provide a significant share of private sector jobs and wages in many areas of New York State, especially upstate, with compensation well above average levels in virtually all parts of the state,” said Ken Pokalsky, Vice President, The Business Council of New York State, Inc.  “While our manufacturing report focuses on performance numbers, rather than public policy issues, it clearly illustrates why decision-makers in Albany need to pay attention to manufacturing and evaluate how legislative and regulatory proposals impact this still-vital economic sector.”

While New York State has a record of promoting and celebrating capital investments and has adopted some manufacturing-focused programs, the state’s industrial sector still is adversely impacted by state-imposed “headwinds,” including labor law mandates, costly energy assessments, high workers’ compensation costs, added Pokalsky.     

For more information on the report, visit

Click here to view the full report.