NEW YORK, NY –New York reached its highest employment level ever of more than 9 million jobs in 2014, after adding 538,000 jobs since 2009, according to a report released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The overall job growth in 2014 alone was 143,000 – the strongest growth since 2000 – and capped four years of steady gains.
Job growth was uneven across the state, with New York City gaining three out of four new statewide jobs from 2009 to 2014, while four upstate regions lost jobs, the report notes. The Mohawk Valley and the Southern Tier saw the biggest drops in employment.
“Six years after the Great Recession, growth is steady statewide, but some specific regions are still struggling,” DiNapoli said. “While unemployment has dropped sharply, more New Yorkers are relying on part-time jobs or have dropped out of the labor force. Bright spots include fast-rising wages in the finance and information sectors, and signs of new growth in the western New York economy.”
DiNapoli’s report examines employment, wages and labor force trends from 2009 to 2014. During that time period, New York’s addition of 538,000 jobs statewide outperformed the nation in seven of 11 major industry sectors.
Long Island added more than 57,000 jobs, and western New York more than 9,400, during the period. Wage growth was strong on a statewide basis and above the inflation rate in six of the 10 regional labor markets over the period.
Who Added Jobs
Job growth was highest in the leisure and hospitality sector, at nearly 22 percent over the past five years. Moderate rises occurred in education and health services, construction, financial activities, information and trade, and in transportation and utilities. Education and health services – New York’s largest employment sector – added 40,000 new jobs in 2014 alone, followed by leisure and hospitality, which added 28,800.
In jobs lost, New York surpassed the national average of 3.1 percent in government employment. Federal, state and local governments shed 87,000 jobs over the five-year period, dropping from the state’s second to the third-largest employment sector. New York also lost jobs in the manufacturing sector (5 percent) and natural resources sector (1.9 percent) while those sectors increased jobs nationwide.
Overall, the labor force in New York dropped by 78,000 workers, which some experts say could limit prospects for overall economic growth. All regions of the state, except for New York City, had a decline in their labor forces over this time period.
Wages rose 14 percent statewide from 2009 to 2014, ahead of the 10.3 percent U.S. inflation rate for the same time period. Six of the state’s labor markets, including the Southern Tier and western New York, saw average wage growth at or above the inflation rate.
The report also found that:
Financial activity and information sectors saw average wages jump by more than 25 percent from 2009 to 2014. Wage gains also outpaced inflation in the sectors of professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, government, trade, transportation and utilities.
Average unemployment dropped from 8.7 in 2012 to 6.4 in 2014, but remained well above the 4.4 percent rate for 2006, the last full year before the Great Recession. The state’s underemployment rate – including marginally attached workers and those who work part-time but would prefer full-time work, was 12 percent in 2014.
New York’s labor force participation rate dropped to 60.7 percent in 2014, the lowest level in more than a decade. Long Island had the highest participation rate at 67.5 percent, followed by the Capital Region and the Hudson Valley.