For the 12-month period ending December 2015, the private sector job count in the Southern Tier fell by 3,400, or 1.4 percent, to 235,500. Losses were greatest in leisure and hospitality (-900), manufacturing (-800), education and health services (-500), trade, transportation and utilities (-400), natural resources, mining and construction (-300) and information (-200). Government jobs decreased by (-100) over the year.
By Christian Harris, Labor Market Analyst, Southern Tier
(Excerpted from the March 2015 issue of the Employment in New York State newsletter)
The Southern Tier’s economy has steadily improved since the last national recession. Over the five-year period ending December 2014, the region’s private sector job count climbed by 9,600, or 4.2%. This job growth contributed to a sharp decline in the region’s unemployment rate, which fell from 8.6% to 5.6% over the same time span. This article looks at two developments— Binghamton University’s smart energy focus and the revival of manufacturing in Chenango County — that are expected to boost the Southern Tier’s economy going forward.
In August 2014, state and local government officials participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for a new $70 million, 114,000-sq.-ft. building on the Binghamton University (BU) campus. The new building, officially known as the Smart Energy Research and Development Facility, is part of the Innovative Technologies Complex. It is scheduled for completion in 2017 and will eventually house the physics and chemistry departments at BU.
The facility is one result of the NYSUNY 2020 plan, which allowed BU to embark on a project with significant growth potential and to pursue this smart energy research site. Research at the Smart Energy site will focus on several cutting-edge technologies, including:
Besides its obvious importance to the University, the new Smart Energy facility is expected to have a significant impact on the state and regional economies. During its construction phase, the site’s direct economic impact on the Binghamton metro area (Broome and Tioga counties) is pegged at $78.5 million. Moreover, the project’s construction phase is expected to support about 200 construction jobs and more than 300 additional local jobs due to the effects of the economic multiplier. After construction is completed, new employees at the facility will generate an estimated $2.5 million in economic activity each year.
Another exciting development in the Southern Tier is Chenango County’s manufacturing sector, one of the success stories in Upstate New York. In 2014, the county’s manufacturing job count stood at an all-time annual high of 4,900 (current data series go back to 1990). Since the depths of the national recession in 2009, the county’s factory job count has grown by 1,800, or more than 58%! In contrast, the nation’s manufacturing job count was up less than 3% over the same period.
Contributing to this increase in Chenango County’s manufacturing base is ongoing growth at Raymond Corporation, which makes lift trucks in the village of Greene. Production has never been higher at Raymond’s local plant, which makes about 68 trucks per day. Over the past five years, the company has almost doubled its local workforce, which now stands at more than 1,500, according to published reports.
Raymond traces its presence in the area back to 1840. Its predecessor firm, Lyon Iron Works, was purchased in 1922 by George Raymond Sr. His patents for the first hand-pallet truck and the first double-faced wooden pallet set the company on its current course of innovation and success. The company hit a speed bump in 2009, when it laid off about 10% of its North American workforce due to decline in the lift truck market. But by early 2010, Raymond realized an uptick in business and has been growing ever since.
Today, Raymond is part of the Toyota Material Handling North America corporate family, which bought Raymond’s parent company, BT Industries, for nearly $900 million in 2000. Raymond’s business has strengthened immensely since being purchased by its global parent.
Smart energy research at Binghamton University will help foster new high-tech business spinoffs in the Southern Tier. Also helping to grow the regional economy going forward is the expected continued growth at Raymond Corp., which continues to develop innovative products that meet the evolving needs of the marketplace.
If you have any further questions regarding the Southern Tier Labor Market, please contact:Christian Harris
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