Private sector jobs in the Southern Tier rose by 1,000 or 0.4 percent, to 228,200 over the year in August 2017. Job gains were largest in leisure and hospitality (+800), educational and health services (+400), professional and business services (+400), other services (+200) and trade, transportation and utilities (+200). Losses were focused in manufacturing (-500) and financial activities (-400). Government jobs decreased by (-100) over the year.
By Christian Harris, Labor Market Analyst, Southern Tier (Excerpted from the November 2016 issue of the Employment in New York State newsletter)
The Southern Tier’s regional economy continues to bounce back from our nation’s worst economic downturn in more than 75 years. Over the six-year period ending September 2016, the region’s private sector job count climbed by 5,200, or 2.2%, to 237,200. Moreover, the Southern Tier’s growing job count has helped to push down the region’s unemployment rate – from 7.9% in September 2010 to 4.9% in September 2016. Here, we review some of the region’s key industries and their prospects for future growth.
Universities in the Southern Tier have long been involved in cutting-edge research and development in the electronics field. Binghamton University (BU) will direct New York’s share of a new $75 million, five-year federal initiative to advance flexible hybrid electronics. This is an innovative process at the intersection of electronics and high-precision printing. This field has the potential, for example, to create sensors that can be lighter in weight, or conform to the curves of a human body, and stretch across the shape of an object or structure.
This funding will build on BU’s capabilities in electronics packaging and manufacturing. The university’s researchers will work with some prominent New York State companies -- including Corning, i3 Electronics, General Electric and Lockheed Martin -- to develop and manufacture this new technology. More companies are expected to join the initiative.
Researchers at Cornell University and SUNY’s multi-campus Network of Excellence in Materials and Advanced Manufacturing are also expected to participate. The New York researchers will work closely with the Flex Tech Alliance, a national industry advocacy group with members from academia, industry and government, to develop industry roadmaps and project plans. A number of projects are currently underway.
A handful of academic and private sector jobs are expected to be created in the first two years of the initiative. However, this groundwork has the potential to create hundreds of good-paying, high-tech manufacturing jobs in the future, when these research initiatives hit the production stage.
Did you know that the Southern Tier is home to several large railcar makers? The largest ones include Elmira Heights-based CAF USA, a subsidiary of a Spanish company, and Hornell-based Alstom, which is part of a French multinational company. The local industry’s job count expanded from 570 in 2010 to 950 in 2015, for a gain of more than 65%. Local railcar makers paid above-average salaries of more than $67,200/year in 2015.
Alstom recently won a set of contracts with Amtrak to produce 28 new high-speed trains as part of a $2.5 billion program to modernize Amtrak's rail cars. The first new train is expected to enter service in 2021, with the rest due to be in service by the end of 2022. All trains in the current fleet will be retired.
The new contracts will have a significant employment impact, creating about 750 jobs in New York State. This total includes direct employment of 400 people at Alstom, and an additional 350 people at subcontractors across New York State.
Warehousing and distribution is a third industry group that has experienced significant job growth in recent years. In 2010-2015, the number of Southern Tier workers in this industry grew by 780, or 19%, to 4,950. Like railcar manufacturing, future hiring prospects in this industry are promising.
Fortune 500 company Dick's Sporting Goods, which was founded in 1948 in Binghamton, plans to invest $100 million to build a regional distribution facility in the Town of Conklin (Broome County). The company’s investment will create 466 jobs over the next five years. Construction on the 650,000-sq.-ft. facility will begin later this year and is slated for completion in early 2018.
A diverse set of industries – ranging from high-tech research and development to railcars, to warehousing and distribution – is expected to lay the foundation for future job growth in the Southern Tier.
If you have any further questions regarding the Southern Tier Labor Market, please contact:Christian Harris
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