timeclock-bw-150x150-7441211Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo staged a series of upstate ribbon-cutting events in which he touted an economic turnaround in the region. Today brought a reality check: the monthly state Labor Department jobs report, which showed weak year-to-year private employment growth in upstate’s largest metro areas.

Statewide, the year-over-year change in New York State’s private-sector employment slightly exceeded the national rate in June, the monthly jobs report showed. The U.S. as a whole gained about 2 million jobs over the same month a year earlier, a growth rate of 1.7 percent. During the same period, New York added 155,800 jobs, a growth rate of 1.9 percent.

Eighty-four percent of those new jobs were downstate—including 99,800 in New York City alone, where private employment growth has rebounded after slumping last fall. The city’s job growth rate was 2.6 percent, while neighboring suburbs on Long Island and the lower Hudson valley were around the national average.

Upstate, however, the year-over-year rate of private job growth generally was much lower, ranging from 0.4 percent in Buffalo and Rochester to 0.6 percent in Albany and Syracuse. The biggest growth rates were recorded in the small metro areas of Watertown-Ft. Drum, Glens Falls, Ithaca and Kingston.  Utica-Rome was the largest upstate metro area to add jobs faster than the statewide or U.S. averages, while Elmira lost jobs.


On a statewide basis, the leading source of new private employment was the largely non-profit Education &  Health Services sector (up 67,000), followed by Professional & Business Services (50,900) and Leisure & Hospitality (37,300).

However, New York State as a whole also managed to lose another 16,300 manufacturing jobs (a further drop of 3.6 percent from the June 2016 base) during a 12-month period when manufacturing employment nationwide was edging up by another 46,000 jobs, to a nine-year June high of 12.48 million, according to preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Notably, the data also indicated a resurgence in the growth of government employment every region of New York State except Rochester and Utica-Rome.  The public sector was up 9,000 jobs, or 0.6 percent.

About the Author

E.J. McMahon

Edmund J. McMahon is Empire Center's founder and a senior fellow.

Read more by E.J. McMahon

You may also like

Remembering the scandal that brought down Health Commissioner Howard Zucker

The resignation of Dr. Howard Zucker as state health commissioner marks the end of a term marred by scandal over his role in managing the coronavirus pandemic. The much-debated compelling nursing homes to admit COVID-positive patients, though it origi Read More

As leaves turn, NY’s post-pandemic recovery still has very far to go

Entering the second autumn since the COVID-19 outbreak of March 2020, the pace of New York State's pandemic economic recovery has been abysmal by almost any standard. New York was the national epicenter of the pandemic, and Governor Cuomo's "" business Read More

More NY job gains in August—but employment needs to rise a lot further

New York's jobs report for August looked relatively strong—but only by comparison, that is, with . On a seasonally adjusted basis, New York gained 28,000 private-sector jobs last month—a growth rate of 0.4 percent, according to . This was double th Read More

Projected PIT Haul Brightens State Budget Office’s Fiscal Forecast 

Stronger than expected tax payments this spring led the Governor’s Division of the Budget (DOB) to increase its personal income tax (PIT) revenue projections for the next four years by $8.5 billion above its April pr Read More

After 10 weeks, all but five of the Empire Center’s 63 requests for pandemic data remain unfulfilled

Over the 10 days that Hochul has been in office, there has been no further progress on the Empire Center's record requests. Read More

New York’s health benefits remain the second-costliest in the U.S.

New York's health benefit costs increased faster than the national average in 2020, leaving it with the second-least affordable coverage in the U.S. The state's average total cost f Read More

Cuomo’s “FOIL at a Glance”

The document, titled “Foil at a Glance,” lays out the Cuomo administration’s procedures for handling FOIL requests Read More

Manhattan Office Suites Emptier Than Other Major Metros

Fewer than one in four New York City office workers are back in the office, according to a pair of datasets issued this week.    Read More


Sign up to receive updates about Empire Center research, news and events in your email.


Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100

General Inquiries: Info@EmpireCenter.org

Press Inquiries: Press@EmpireCenter.org


The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.

Empire Center Logo Enjoying our work? Sign up for email alerts on our latest news and research.
Together, we can make New York a better place to live and work!