Pandemic Hit NY’s Gig Economy, but Nonemployer $$ up only in the Capital Region
The first year of the pandemic took its toll on the ranks of freelancer, independent contractors and other nonemployer establishments in regions across New York, but the Capital Region was the only one where their total sales, value of shipments, or revenues increased. While Capital Region nonemployer establishment losses were heaviest in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector, those were partially offset by gains in warehousing and transportation, according to a Center for Economic Growth (CEG) analysis of new U.S. Census Bureau data.
In 2020, the number of nonemployer establishments in the eight-county Capital Region totaled 73,212. That was a 2.6 percent decline from the previous year and the region’s first year-over-year loss of nonemployer establishments since 2013. New York’s other economic development regions, except Long Island, experienced larger declines in these businesses with no employees.
Despite having fewer nonemployer establishments, at least in the Capital Region, nonemployer establishments’ total sales, value of shipments or revenues increased by 0.2 percent to $3.46 billion. In other regions, nonemployer sale, value of shipment or revenues declined by as much as 11.6 percent in New York City and 5.3 percent in Western New York.
The Capital Region sector that saw the largest year-over-year decline in nonemployer establishments was arts, entertainment and recreation. This sector’s 1,117 decline in nonemployer establishment also drove the region’s largest drop in nonemployer sales, value of shipments, or revenues: -$31.7 million (-21.4 percent). Other sectors with large declines in nonemployer establishment were educational services (-592) and professional, scientific, and technical services (-536).
Transportation and warehousing had the region’s largest gain in nonemployer establishments, increasing by 858 to 6,954. Despite that gain in establishments, nonemployer warehousing and transportation sales, value of shipments, or revenues were down 0.4 percent. The region’s only other expanding nonemployer establishment sectors were retail trade (+161) and real estate and rental and leasing (+127).
Saratoga County had the region’s largest decline in both nonemployer establishments (-566) and sales, value of shipments and revenues (-$15.7 million). Although Albany County had the region’s second largest decline in nonemployer establishments (-430), it also had the largest increase in nonemployer sales, value of shipments, or revenues (+$39.9 million). Each of the region’s other six counties saw declines in nonemployer establishments, but sales, value of shipments, or revenues were up in Columbia (+$11 million), Greene (+$3.9 million), and Warren ($3.7 million).
CEG provides a menu of startup support services, including pitch coaching through its VentureB series, hands-on educational workshops for entrepreneurs through the VentureB Entrepreneurship Workshop Series, Grant & Loan Assistance, help identifying potential mentors and investors, and assistance gaining access to research labs and other facilities. CEG is also an affiliate of the Capital Region Chamber, which provides support services for entrepreneurs include, loan programs, entrepreneur boot camps and an MWBE program.
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