September 16 2020
COVID-19,Economic Analysis,Employment/Workforce,General

The Capital Region Sectors and Occupations that Are Bouncing Back from COVID-19

Since COVID-19-related job losses peaked in April, the education services, retail trade and other sectors in the Albany-Schenectady-Troy metropolitan statistical area (MSA) have slowly bounced back. However, as of July, hard-hit sectors such as leisure and hospitality and healthcare and social assistance have been slow to reduce their year-over-year losses or even seen them widen.

Narrowing Metro Job Losses

New data from the New York Department of Labor shows signs of economic recovery in the Albany-Schenectady-Troy MSA. The metro had 421,700 nonfarm employed workers as of last July. While that represented a 46,800 job, or 10 percent, loss from a year earlier, it was narrower than the 15.3 percent loss the metro had sustained in April. However, the economic recovery was slower in the Glens Falls MSA (Warren-Washington), where the year-over year nonfarm jobs loss only narrowed from 18.7 percent in April to 16.8 percent in July. In the Twin Counties (Columbia-Greene), nonfarm jobs losses peaked in May, declining by 12.3 percent. And by July the year-over-year losses had only narrowed to 11.4 percent.

Sector Performance

By July, most Albany-Schenectady-Troy MSA sectors were still seeing year-over-year employment losses. Transportation and warehousing was an exception, with flat job growth. Leisure and hospitality had led the region in year-over-year job losses in April, totaling 26,300. By July that loss had narrowed by 16,800 to 26,300. But that was only 36.1 percent fewer lost jobs from April’s peak. In contrast, retail trade, which had seen the metros second most job losses in April, had narrowed its year-over-year job losses from 10,300 in April to 4,300 in July, or 58.3 percent fewer lost jobs. The educational services sector actually had more jobs reported in July than a year earlier, whereas it had experienced a 9.9 percent year-over-year decline in April.

Regardless of this progress, several sectors had greater year-over-year job losses in July than in April. Healthcare and social assistance’s losses went from 7,700 to 7,900. Government’s losses likewise widened, from 2,600 to 5,300.

Job Openings Growth

Employers’ interest in hiring, as measured by regional job openings, has risen sharply since sinking to a low 2,330 openings in May. By August there were 5,411 job openings in the eight counties – a 132.2 percent increase. However, that marked an 18.9 percent decline when compared to a year earlier, according to data from the New York State Department of Labor’s JobsExpress database.

While job opening growth was seen across all occupational categories from May to July, only four had seen year-over-year gains during that period. They were:

  • Healthcare support (up 268.2 percent since May and up 60.4 percent Y/Y)
  • Personal care, personal service and gaming (up 515.4 percent since May and up 21.2 percent Y/Y)
  • Installation, maintenance and repair (up 183.9 percent since May and up 1.3 percent Y/Y)
  • Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance (up 72.5 percent since May and up 11.4 percent Y/Y)

In contrast, education, training and library had 1020 percent more openings since May but was down 44.6 percent over the year. Business and financial operations had the steepest year-over-year decline at 59.3 percent.

CEG Activities

Since COVID-19, CEG has stepped up its efforts to support local businesses and accelerate the Capital Region’s economic recovery through the following activities:

Assisting companies statewide with reshoring and rebuilding supply chains by leveraging an $800,000 CARES ACT grant.  

Serving as the group sponsor for a first-of-its-kind semiconductor apprenticeship program that will train 50 GLOBALFOUNDRIES Fab8 workers.

Awarding $200,000 in COVID-19 emergency relief funds to Capital Region.

Helping manufacturers recommence operations after the lockdown through the Capital Region Manufacturing Re-Start Program.

Assisting manufacturers, such as Precision Valve and Automation, pivot to make high-need medical equipment and supplies.

Manufacturing protective personal equipment for local essential workers, through a Rensselaer County IDA-sponsored partnership with the Center of Gravity and Benet Laboratories at the Watervliet Arsenal.


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