Employment up in the Hudson Valley at end of 2013, Research Bureau Report Shows

POUGHKEEPSIE (April 14, 2014) – Year over year, labor-force participation in the Hudson Valley Region posted a moderate decline, decreasing -0.72 percent from 1,120,900 in the fourth quarter of 2012 to 1,112,867 in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Economic Research at Marist College, which covers the fourth quarter of 2013. The contraction was widespread, with each county in the region reporting a reduction in the level of labor-force participation. Similar results were reported in New York State (-0.52) and nationwide (-0.31 percent). Contrastingly, regional employment advanced, increasing 0.86 percent year over year (8,967) from 1,039,633 jobs held in the fourth quarter of 2012 to 1,048,600 in the fourth quarter of 2013. Every county in the region, with the exception of Sullivan, reported a year-over-year increase, with Rockland County posting the largest increase at 1.26 percent followed by Orange and Westchester counties at 1.06 percent and 1.01 percent, respectively. Statewide, employment advanced 0.68 percent; nationwide, employment rose 0.63 percent.

Because employment has been growing at a faster rate than labor-force participation, the regional unemployment rate posted a year-over-year decline of 1.22 percentage points from 7.76 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 to 6.54 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013. The unemployment rate dropped throughout the region, with Dutchess County posting the largest year-over-year decline (1.44 percentage points), followed by Ulster and Westchester at 1.42 percentage points and 1.22 percentage points, respectively. Statewide, the unemployment rate fell 1.01 percentage points from 8.52 percent to 7.51 percent; nationwide, the unemployment rate fell 0.73 percentage points from 8.03 percent to 7.30 percent.

Year over year, the regional job count was little changed, increasing one tenth of one percent (900) from 912,367 in the fourth quarter of 2012 to 913,267 in the fourth quarter of 2013.Year over year, the job count in the private sector increased 0.50 percent (3,733) from 753,000 to 756,733, while the job count in the public sector continued to decline, falling 1.78 percent (-2,833) from 159,367 to 156,533. Job losses in the local government sector accounted for the majority of the loss at 1,833. Year over year, education and health services added the most jobs at 2,367, followed by leisure and hospitality (767) and professional and business services (700). The natural resources, mining and construction, trade, transportation and utilities and financial activities sectors added 500 jobs each. The job count declined in manufacturing (-900), information (-500), and other services (-200).

Food-stamp dependency in the Hudson Valley continues to advance, increasing from one out of every 9.9 residents in the fourth quarter of 2012 to one out of every 9.6 in the fourth quarter of 2013. Over the same period, food-stamp dependency in New York State advanced from one out of every 6.2 residents to one out of every 6.1 residents. Every county in the region recorded a year-over-year increase in the number of food-stamp recipients, with Rockland County experiencing the largest increase at 2,177 followed by Orange (1,894), Westchester (1,239), Dutchess (864), Ulster (506), Putnam (236) and Sullivan (74). As was the case in previous quarters, Sullivan County was the most dependent on food-stamp benefits at one out of every 5.8 persons, followed by Rockland, Orange and Ulster counties at one out of every 6.8 per persons, one out of every 8.0 per persons and one out of every 8.4 persons, respectively. Putnam County was the least dependent at one out of every 35.8 persons, followed by Dutchess County at one out of every 11.8 persons and Westchester County at one out of every 11.6 persons. As noted above, in New York State, one out of every 6.1 persons received food-stamp benefits in the fourth quarter of 2013.

The number of Hudson Valley residents who received monthly Temporary Assistance (TA) benefits—which includes Family Assistance (FA)[1] and Safety Net Assistance (SNA)[2]—fell -2.41 percent from 33,244 recipients in the fourth quarter of 2012 to 32,443 in the fourth quarter of 2013. In New York State, the number of recipients decreased 0.97 percent. Within the region, Sullivan County is the most dependent on monthly TA benefits at one out of every 41.9 persons, followed by Ulster and Orange counties at one out of every 44.8 persons and one out of every 54.2 persons, respectively. Putnam County is the least dependent at one out of every 535.5 persons, followed by Dutchess, Rockland and Westchester counties at one out of every 115.7 persons, one out of every 95.7 persons and one out of every 70.9 persons, respectively.

Housing prices have begun to recover.Each county in the region, with the exception of Orange County, reported median selling prices that exceeded their inter-recession troughs, a region-wide pattern first established in the second quarter of 2013. Sullivan County reported the highest relative increase at 16.55 percent ($18,200) above the trough, followed by Ulster County at 15.77 percent ($27,250) and Dutchess County at 9.72 percent ($22,350). It, however, remains the case that median sales prices remain well below the peak evaluations witnessed during the housing boom.

Improvement in the housing market in concert with a favorable interest-rate environment continues to positively impact the demand for newly constructed single- and multifamily homes. Year over year, the demand for single- and multifamily construction permits increased 37.51 percent and 11.53 percent, respectively. Total estimated construction costs advanced $154.62 million, from $367.89 million in the 2012 to $522.51 million in 2013. The estimated average construction cost of a single-family home advanced from $269,899 to $289,357 while the estimated average multifamily per-unit cost advanced from $115,692 per unit in 2012 to $124,126.

The full report and others can be found on the bureau's website at www.marist.edu/management/bureau.


[1] As of December 1996, Family Assistance is limited to 60 months per lifetime. To be eligible for Family Assistance, the household must include (care for) a minor child.

[2] Safety Net Assistance has a lifetime limit of two years.

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