Upstate’s anemic recovery

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Good news! The unemployment rate in the Rochester metro fell to 4 percent in September, half the rate at the peak of the recession in 2009, and below pre-recession levels.

Is this really good news? Yes, a smaller share of our neighbors start their day trolling online job sites but the health of the economy should be measured by more than one statistic.

How about job growth? Total employment grew 6 percent since the peak of the recession, about 30,000 jobs. That’s good news, right?

Unfortunately, when measured against other metros, our economy’s performance has been, well, depressing.

I’d love to spin this—I know that Rochester boasts a great workforce, competitive companies, and a superb quality of life (with particular depth in arts and culture)—but we’re nearly dead last in job growth when compared to the other 99 largest metros in the country. Syracuse, sadly, really is dead last.

Download the data file here.

For a more complete overview of the state’s relative job performance, I strongly recommend the excellent review of the state’s economy during the Cuomo Administration by EJ McMahon of the Empire Center for State Policy.

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