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Contact: DR. CHRISTY HUEBNER CARIDI, BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH, (845) 575-3174
GREG CANNON, OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, (845) 575-3112

Labor Market Improves, but Slowly, Marist Economic Report Shows

POUGHKEEPSIE - The Hudson Valley’s labor market is improving, albeit at a slow and uneven pace, according to a new report from the Marist College Bureau of Economic Research. The region’s southernmost counties—Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester—rebuilding their labor market at a faster rate than the counties of the upper Hudson Valley region—Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster, the "Economic Report of the Hudson Valley" for the second quarter of 2012 shows.

“New job creation is headed in the right direction, but it is occurring at too slow a rate to accommodate a growing labor force and keep the region’s unemployment from rising,” said Dr. Christy Huebner Caridi, the bureau’s director and assistant professor of economics at the college. “We are slowly recapturing the jobs lost to the recession, but there is still a long way to go.”Employment chart

Private-sector job creation in the Hudson Valley continues to outpace new employment – jobs both in and outside of the region held by Hudson Valley residents. Regional job creation is heavily weighted toward jobs with average wages at or below $34,000 per year, while job creation in the traditional “high-wage” sectors – $87,000 and up – continues to lag.

Year over year, the regional labor force, employment, and private-sector job count changed little, rising 0.9 percent, 0.25 percent, and 1.30 percent, respectively. In contrast, during the first eight months of 2012, the regional labor force increased 3.28 percent while employment and the private-sector job count advanced 2.16 percent and 2.13 percent, respectively. Intra-region, labor force participation, employment, and the private-sector job count in the lower Hudson Valley increased 3.89 percent, 2.80 percent, and 3.25 percent compared to 2.34 percent, 1.18 percent, and 0.15 percent in the upper Hudson Valley.

As has been the case in recent periods, the regional labor force has grown at a faster pace than the level of employment, resulting in an increase in the unemployment rate. Year over year, the regional unemployment rate advanced .66 percentage points from 6.94 percent in the second quarter of 2011 to 7.60 percent in the second quarter of 2012. The unemployment rate in the lower Hudson Valley advanced 0.56 percentage points from 6.47 percent to 7.03 percent while in the upper Hudson Valley the unemployment rate advanced 0.75 percentage points from 7.68 percent to 8.43 percent. Between December of 2011 and August of 2012, the regional employment rate increased 1.01 percentage points, rising from 6.87 percent to 7.88 percent.

Relative to the inter-recession trough—an important benchmark—the region has recaptured 52.90 percent of the labor force lost to the recession, slightly less than 35.00 percent of the employment, and 82 percent of all private-sector jobs. As noted, the labor force in the lower Hudson Valley is recovering at a faster rate than the labor force in the upper Hudson Valley. As of August 2012, the lower Hudson Valley had recaptured 54.44 percent of the labor force lost to the recession and 37.62 percent of the employment compared to 49.42 and 38.08 percent in the upper Hudson Valley region. In contrast, there was no significant difference between the intra-regional rates of private-sector job recovery. As of the second quarter, the lower Hudson Valley had recovered 82.40 percent of all private-sector jobs lost, while the upper Hudson Valley had recovered 81.50 percent. On average, the Hudson Valley continued to outperform both the Long Island and Capital regions. Relative to the New York City region, the Hudson Valley has recaptured more employment but fewer private-sector jobs. As of June 2012, the New York City region had recaptured all jobs lost to the recession and had moved 38.00 percent above the inter-recession peak.

As of the first quarter of 2012—most current numbers—the average weekly private-sector wage (AWW), valued in current dollars, in Westchester County at $1,401 ranked second highest in the state; New York County (Manhattan) ranked the highest at $2,764. Rockland County ($1,035) ranked fourth, Dutchess County ($946) ranked eighth, and Putnam County ($811) ranked 18th. Orange ($715), Ulster ($670), and Sullivan ($613) counties ranked 32nd, 47th, and 56th, respectively. Region-wide, the average weekly private-sector wage advanced 5.04 percent year over year, from $1,059 in the first quarter of 2011 to $1,112 in the first quarter of 2012. Statewide, the average weekly private-sector wage fell 1.83 percent, from $1,440 to $1,414.

Private-sector wages advanced in every county in the region with Ulster County posting the highest year- over-year increase at 6.93 percent, followed by Rockland and Sullivan counties at 6.54 percent and 5.11 percent, respectively. Public-sector wages also advanced with Sullivan County recording the largest year-over-year gain at 10.93 percent, followed by Putnam (8.93 percent) and Ulster (7.10 percent).

As of the first quarter of 2012, Westchester was the only county in the region wherein the AWW paid in the private sector was higher than the AWW paid in the public sector: the ratio of private to public was 100.53—$1.031 paid in the private sector for every $1.00 paid in the public sector. Across the balance of the region, the ratio of private to public ranged from a low of 62.03 in Sullivan County to a high of 93.03 in Dutchess County. Region-wide, the ratio of private to public was 93.1.

Dependence on food stamp benefits continues to expand as more families in the Hudson Valley region fall below the official poverty level. As of the second quarter of 2012, one out of every 10.2 residents— 224,854 persons—in the Hudson Valley received food stamp benefits compared to one out of every 10.9 residents—210,918 persons—in the second quarter of 2011. As of the second quarter, Sullivan County was the most dependent on food stamp benefits at one out of every 6.11 persons, followed by Rockland, Orange, and Ulster counties at one out of every 7.28 persons, one out of every 8.35 persons, and one out of every 8.78 persons, respectively. Putnam County was the least dependent at one out of every 41.80 persons, followed by Dutchess County at one out of every 12.49 persons and Westchester County at one out of every 12.41 persons. In New York State, one out of every 6.32 persons received food stamp benefits in the second quarter of 2012.

In contrast, the number of persons dependent on Temporary Assistance benefits posted a slight decrease, falling from 34,043 in the second quarter of 2011 to 33,644 in the second quarter of the current year. Year over year, the number of residents dependent on Temporary Assistance benefits fell from one out of every 67.7 persons to one out of every 68.5 persons. As of the second quarter, Sullivan County was the most dependent on Temporary Assistance benefits at one out of every 32.47 persons, followed by Ulster and Orange counties at one out of every 49.62 persons and one out of every 51.31 persons, respectively. Putnam County was the least dependent at one out of every 675.22 persons, followed by Dutchess, Rockland, and Westchester counties at one out of every 100.31 persons, one out of every 92.48 persons, and one out of every 69.43 persons, respectively.

The market for single-family homes continues to improve albeit at an uneven pace. Year over year, the number of single-family homes sold rose 14.48 percent while the median selling price continued to decline. Overall, current housing values remain well below the peak valuations witnessed during the housing boom, with 30 percent declines the norm.

For the first six months of 2012, the demand for both single and multifamily construction permits fell relative to the first six months of 2011. It is important to note that local area permit data is highly unreliable and is subject to revision. 


For further information, call the Marist College Office of Public Affairs at (845) 575-3174.

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