Upstate Workforce Plummets While NYC, Long Island Increase

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At first glance, New Yorkers might celebrate a new report from the state comptroller showing that the Empire State’s workforce has jumped to its highest since the Great Recession. But a closer look reveals that this growth is uneven, leaving upstate New Yorkers struggling with an uncertain job market.

Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s latest report revealed that 9.1 million residents were employed in 2016, the highest since 2008. But that’s no cause for celebration upstate, as this growth is only happening in New York City and Long Island.

Between 2011 and 2016, New York City and Long Island were the only regions in the Empire State that expanded their labor forces. Meanwhile the Hudson Valley showed almost no change during that period and the Capitol region declined by one percent.

In addition, the comptroller’s office found that the Mohawk Valley, Central New York, and the North Country saw more than a six percent decrease in the workforce. And things were even bleaker for the Southern Tier, as the region saw the largest drop at nine percent.

The Post Standard reports that the comptroller’s office blamed a decline in the number of upstate residents actively seeking jobs and a decrease in the region’s population for the steep drop. Although the state’s unemployment rate was slightly lower than the national average, a shrinking workforce does not bode well for upstate New York.

The comptroller’s report also found that New York had one of the lowest percentages of participation among eligible workers in the nation at 60.4 percent, ranking it 40th in the country.

If you want to do something about upstate’s shrinking workforce, join Reclaim New York today!