February 21 2020

Area’s Labor Force Is Getting Younger

The labor force of the Capital Region’s largest metropolitan statistical area (MSA) is “young” again, with the median age of its labor force (16 to 64 years old) slipping below 40 years. Even more, the median age of the Albany-Schenectady-Troy MSA’s labor force is declining faster than all but one of New York’s metro areas.1

NYS Metros

U.S. Census Bureau five-year estimates put the Albany-Schenectady-Troy MSA’s labor force’s median age at 39.9 years in 2018. That was the first time in more than a decade2 that the labor force’s median age was below 40 years, and it represented a 2.9 percent decline from five years earlier. The Binghamton MSA was the only New York State metro that saw a faster decline in its labor force’s median age, down 3.6 percent to 39.9 years.

The Ithaca MSA was the state’s only metro area that saw its labor force’s median age increase over the last five years, up by 1.8 percent to 34.3 years. The Ithaca MSA, however, also had the lowest median age among the state’s metro areas, owing to its vast postsecondary student population. The Watertown-Fort Drum MSA’s labor force had second lowest median age at 34.6 years, owing to its vast military population. The Albany-Schenectady-Troy and Binghamton MSAs were tied for the third lowest labor force median age.

Among New York State counties, Tompkins County had the lowest at 34.3 years and Hamilton County had the highest at 47.5 years. In the Capital Region, Albany County had the fifth lowest labor force median age at 37.7 years, Rensselaer County had the 15th at 40.2 years and Schenectady County the 16th at 40.3 years.

Regional Branding Campaign

In 2018, the eight-county Capital Region had 216,690 people between 20 and 34 years old, and 82 percent of them, or 178,243, of them were in the labor force. The region is the only upstate economic development region that has grown its population of young professionals (25 to 34 year olds with a bachelor’s degree or higher). That is why the Center for Economic Growth (CEG) is partnering with business and community leaders, to launch a regional branding initiative to raise the Capital Region’s profile as a 1-million-strong metro region with distinct competitive advantages, including strategic location, educational assets, cultural vibrancy, innovation, recreational opportunities, affordability and livability. The brand will be launched this summer.


1 Based on a Center for Economic Growth analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data (B23013).

2 Five-year estimates for 2010-2018, three-year estimates for 2007-2009.


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