Capital Region Manufacturing Employment Reached 16-Year High in 2017
Employment in the Capital Region’s manufacturing sector last year climbed to its highest level since 2001. In 2017, the eight-county region’s manufacturers drove a 1.6 percent annual net jobs gain to an annual average of 34,322. Employment was up 7.6 percent from five years earlier, according to a Center for Economic Growth (CEG) analysis of New York State Department of Labor data.
Driving the sector’s annual growth were 9.4 percent and 6.4 percent increases in chemical manufacturing and computer and electronic product manufacturing, respectively. These two subsectors include two of the region’s largest and fastest-growing manufacturers: Regeneron Pharmaceuticals in East Greenbush and GLOBALFOUNDRIES in Malta. Sabic is another chemical manufacturer that has recently expanded R&D and production capabilities at its Selkirk facility. Over the last five years, chemical manufacturing employment has increased by 38.4 percent and computer and electronic product manufacturing by 23 percent.
The Capital Region’s manufacturing sector continued to become more diverse in 2017. Whereas the sector a decade ago only had one subsector (machinery manufacturing) with more than 4,000 jobs, it now has three: machinery, chemical and computer and electronic product manufacturing. In fact, over the past two years both chemical and computer and electronic product manufacturing have surpassed machinery manufacturing for highest employment.
A Thriving Manufacturing Metro
This robust growth recently earned Forbes’ recognition of the Albany-Schenectady-Troy metropolitan statistical area (MSA) as the nation’s seventh most thriving manufacturing metro for a second consecutive year. ZipRecruiter also named the Glens Falls MSA the fourth best market for new collar jobs, which are “jobs that require vocational, tech, or skills-based training, but not necessarily a bachelor’s degree from a university.”
The Capital Region’s manufacturing sector averaged 903 payroll establishments in 2017, the most since 2008. However, at 640, the MSA had its greatest number of manufacturing establishments since 2001.
In 2017, the region’s manufacturers paid $2.2 billion in total wages, up 5.8 percent from the previous year. The sector’s average wage was $77,219. The highest-paying manufacturing industry was chemical manufacturing ($108,899), followed by machinery manufacturing ($104,300) and computer and electronic product manufacturing ($98,022).
CEG Activities to Support Industry Growth
Several initiatives are currently underway to ensure the Capital Region’s talent pipeline can meet the demands of manufacturers. They include:
• The April groundbreaking at Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) for the Gene F. Haas Center for Advanced Manufacturing Skills (CAMS), a $14.5 million, 37,000 square foot building dedicated to providing hands-on training to machinists, toolmakers, industrial maintenance technicians and other skilled technical workers. CAMS will double HVCC’s capacity in the advanced manufacturing technology degree classes from 144 to 288 students.
• CEG recently received $250,000 from KeyBank to support the below manufacturing training programs:
o Expansion of HVCC’s Manufacturing Technology Pathways Project, a short-term, stackable credential training program, or “boot camp,” HVCC launched this training program in January 2017. It involves an 80-hour manufacturing boot camp that includes online courses, in-person instruction.
o Launch of the Certified Production Technician (CPT) program at Schenectady County Community College (SCCC). The CPT program is an eight- to 12-week-long certificate course that is intended to skill-up incumbent workers who are looking to advance their career, or enhance the education of an unemployed or underemployed person who possesses some manufacturing experience. There are five individual certificate modules: safety; quality practices and measurement; manufacturing processes and production; maintenance awareness and green production.
• CEG is also sponsoring a Manufacturing Intermediary Apprenticeship Program (MIAP) to assist local manufacturers in training workers for high-skill trades. Through its partnership with the Manufacturers Association of Central New York (MACNY), Capital Region manufacturers in May started onboarding apprentices into the program.
• CEG’s Business Growth Solutions (BGS offers technical services to help Capital Region manufacturers with optimal improvement, strategic growth, sustainability and energy efficiency, and technology acceleration.
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