Private sector jobs in the Southern Tier declined by 36,600 or 16.2 percent, to 189,300 in the year ending April 2020. Losses were greatest in leisure and hospitality (-12,200), trade, transportation and utilities (-6,500), educational and health services (-6,400), manufacturing (-3,500), professional and business services (-2,700), other services (-2,400), natural resources, mining and construction (-2,200) and financial activities (-500). Government jobs decreased by (-2,500) over the year.
By Christian Harris, Labor Market Analyst, Southern Tier (Excerpted from the May 2019 issue of the Employment in New York State newsletter)
The Southern Tier has enjoyed private sector job growth over the past five years. From the first quarter of 2014 to the first quarter of 2019, the region’s private sector job count grew by 2,100, or 0.9 percent, to 223,400. Over this time frame, the region’s unemployment rate fell from 7.3% to 4.8%. Here, we look at a diverse set of recent developments that are poised to contribute to the future economic growth of the Southern Tier region.
Industrial hemp is a product that has gained significantly in popularity as its many applications – from agriculture to manufacturing – and potential economic benefits have become more apparent. As a result, many regulatory restrictions on the amounts of hemp that can be grown and harvested have been lifted.
The Broome County labor market has benefited from this change in the regulatory environment. Two processing businesses, Canopy Growth and Southern Tier Hemp, have announced plans to open facilities in Broome County in 2019.
Canada-based Canopy Growth has selected a former Shop Vac factory in Kirkwood for its Binghamton-area operations. The company expects to invest between $100 million and $150 million and create nearly 400 jobs. Industry analysts expect the move will spur growth of a major new agricultural industry in the Southern Tier region. Canopy is the world’s largest cannabis company, with a stock market capitalization of more than $15 billion.
Southern Tier Hemp plans to acquire the former Gannett printing plant in Johnson City. It will spend $12 million to renovate the plant and transform it into a production site to process cannabidiol (CBD) oils and other related products that are extracted from hemp. Proponents claim CBD can be used as a relaxant to treat a variety of medical problems, ranging from epilepsy to anxiety. The company expects to create up to 120 jobs.
Growing demand for diesel and electric hybrid bus engines is bringing business to one of the region’s major manufacturers -- Great Britain’s BAE Systems, which is a multinational defense, security and aerospace company. BAE is one of the area’s largest employers. According to published reports, the company has over 1,600 workers at its plant in Endicott (Broome County). BAE produces the HybriDrive Propulsion System, which is used by municipal bus fleets. It is an environmentally friendly hybrid engine that is less costly to operate than fully electric engines.
The company has received major contracts over the past two years to produce engines for municipal transportation systems in Quebec, Massachusetts and Westchester County. In total, they have received almost 800 orders with the potential to add an additional 1,000. As more communities around the globe focus on clean energy and reducing their carbon footprint, BAE Systems appears well-positioned to take advantage of that trend.
A recent study from the New York State Brewers Association (NYSBA) quantifies the economic contributions made by the state’s craft beer industry in 2018. The study found that the Southern Tier region was home to a total of 40 craft brewers. Steuben County alone had 12, the most in the region.
The economic contribution made by the entire craft beer industry – which includes craft brewers, beer wholesalers and retailers – is impressive. According to the NYSBA study, there were a total of 1,069 jobs in the Southern Tier related to craft brewing. The industry had a total economic impact of more than $297 million in the region. A significant portion of that economic activity stemmed from spending by tourists who visited the region due to its craft brewers.
Looking ahead, a series of recent announcements by companies in the Southern Tier underscore the fact that the region is well-positioned to take advantage of new and growing opportunities – ranging from hemp to hybrid electric bus engines to craft beer – that should help drive the region’s economic growth into the future.
If you have any further questions regarding the Southern Tier Labor Market, please contact:Christian Harris
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