February 11 2019

Despite Low Unemployment, Key Sectors are Disproportionately Impacted

In 2018, the Capital Region had its fewest number of unemployed workers in 17 years. The eight-county region averaged 21,800 unemployed workers last year – 48 percent below the peak level of unemployment in 2010, according to New York State Department of Labor data.

That stark decline, however, does not mean all of the regional sectors are equally contributing to the low unemployment. In fact, several are disproportionately adding to the ranks of the unemployed. As of July, the region had 20,813 unemployed workers, according to data from Economic Modeling Specialists Int. (EMSI). More than a third of those unemployed workers (35.4 percent) hailed from three sectors: accommodation and food services, construction and retail trade sectors.

These sectors lead in unemployed workers even though only one – retail trade – is a top 3 employer in the region. Additionally, their share of unemployed workers is higher than the national averages for those sectors. In contrast, the Capital Region sectors with shares of  unemployed workers below the national averages included administrative and support services, manufacturing, agriculture, transportation and warehousing.

CEG Activities

Companies may sometimes look at sectors with high shares of unemployed workers as a sign of workforce underutilization and an opportunity for investment. However, such high shares of unemployment may also be a sign for workers to change careers to a regional sector that is outperforming the nation, such as manufacturing.

CEG is engaged in the following activities to expand and enhance the Capital Region’s manufacturing talent pipeline for entry-level and higher-skill positions:

Manufacturing Technology Pathways Project: Hudson Valley Community College’s new short-term, stackable credential training program, or “boot camp,” supported by part of a $250,000 KeyBank Foundation grant administered by CEG;

Certified Production Technician (CPT) Program: A new eight- to 12-week-long certificate course at Schenectady County Community College, supported by part of a $250,000 KeyBank Foundation grant administered by CEG.

Manufacturing Intermediary Apprenticeship Program (MIAP): A CEG program, in partnership with the Manufacturers Association of Central New York (MACNY), to assist local manufacturers in training incumbent workers for high-skill trades.

Business Growth Solutions (BGS): A National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) center, CEG’s BGS unit can help manufacturers obtain grants for employee training initiatives.

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