Over the past year, the private sector job count in the Southern Tier rose by 1,100, or 0.5 percent, to 230,600 in October 2017. Job gains were largest in educational and health services (+1,600), leisure and hospitality (+1,100) and other services (+300). Losses were focused in manufacturing (-800), trade, transportation and utilities (-500), financial activities (-200) and professional and business services (-200). Government jobs increased by (+100) over the year.
By Christian Harris, Labor Market Analyst, Southern Tier (Excerpted from the September 2017 issue of the Employment in New York State newsletter)
The Southern Tier’s labor market has grown in recent years. For the eight-year period ending July 2017, the region’s private sector job count climbed by 5,100, or 2.3%, to 228,000. Over the same time frame, the region’s unemployment rate fell from 8.1% to 5.2%, approaching pre-recession lows. This article highlights several projects – either planned or currently underway – that are expected to help boost the Southern Tier's economic fortunes in the coming years.
Over the past year, a number of high-profile economic renewal projects were started in the region. For example, Binghamton University’s (BU) health services complex in Johnson City (Broome County) is close to completion. It is expected to dramatically reshape the community’s downtown corridor.
Three buildings are planned. The first is a new $60 million, 84,000-square-foot School of Pharmacy, which is expected to open by fall 2018. Second is BU’s School of Nursing, which is relocating into a former Endicott Johnson box factory. This project is expected to be completed in April 2019 at an estimated cost of $45 million. The third building is a research facility that will offer work space for faculty in the School of Pharmacy, School of Nursing and the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Space will also be available for private biotech companies and other tech start-ups to work with the faculty.
Two communities in the region were awarded New York State-sponsored Downtown Revitalization Initiative grants. Both will have access to $10 million for community projects.
The City of Elmira, an award winner in 2016, has identified nine key projects that will receive funding. The Village of Watkins Glen, an award winner in 2017, expects to identify projects that align with the community's vision for downtown revitalization. Both communities expect to leverage their state grants into significantly higher levels of private sector investment.
In the area of transportation infrastructure upgrades, phase one of a $58 million renovation of the Elmira Corning Airport in Horseheads (Chemung County) got underway in July 2017. The three-phase project is slated for completion in October 2018 and will transform the airport into a functional and inviting space. The renovation also features new jet bridges to accommodate larger planes. The upgrades are primarily funded by a $40 million state grant. The airport has been in growth mode over the past decade. Boardings there rose from 83,300 in 2006 to 139,600 in 2016, an increase of 68%.
The state also announced the creation of the $20 million Greater Binghamton Fund. It will focus on projects in three Broome County communities: Binghamton, Johnson City and Endicott. They are outlined in the “Southern Tier Soaring” Upstate Revitalization Initiative Plan, which captured a $500 million prize in a 2015 contest. Planned projects include mixed-use and mixed-income developments, private retail and commercial development, and smart-growth technologies.
Another key project is the redevelopment of the former site of the Corning Hospital. Corning Community College recently held a grand opening of its $8 million Health Education Center, which is located on part of the property. The new, three-story center will enhance the college's nursing program. Developer Riedman Companies plans to build 140 upscale apartment units, along with satellite office and retail space, on the other section of the property.
Retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods will expand its planned distribution center in Conklin (Broome County) by more than one-third. The center, initially planned for 670,000 square- feet, will grow to 923,000 square-feet. The new head count for the Pennsylvania-based company’s fifth distribution center also will be greater than expected. Instead of hiring 466 workers, the company expects to employ about 525 in positions ranging from shipping clerks and packers to managers.
The Southern Tier’s regional economy received good news over the past year in the form of several high-profile public and private economic development projects. These efforts are expected to pay dividends for the region in the years to come.
If you have any further questions regarding the Southern Tier Labor Market, please contact:Christian Harris
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