Syracuse, N.Y., September 2, 2018 - On this Labor Day weekend, gubernatorial candidate Stephanie Miner is drawing attention to Upstate New York’s struggling workforce.
While the unemployment rate has dropped during Andrew Cuomo’s tenure as governor, the labor force in many Upstate metropolitan areas has also shrunk. People have left their communities or stopped looking for work.
Since January 2011, the state Labor Department notes:
- In Elmira, the labor force has shrunk by 5,600 people, or 14 percent. The total number of jobs has also declined by 2,500, or 6 percent.
- In Binghamton, the labor force has shrunk by 14,300 people, or 12 percent. The total number of jobs has also declined by 3,900, or 4 percent.
- In Utica-Rome, the labor force has shrunk by 8,800 people, or 6 percent.
- In Syracuse, the labor force has shrunk by 17,000 people, or 5 percent.
- In Buffalo, the labor force has shrunk by 12,300 people, or 2 percent.
- In Rochester, the labor force has shrunk by 8,000 people, or 1.5 percent.
In addition, wages are barely keeping pace with inflation, and job and population growth lags behind New York City and the rest of the country.
Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse have some of the worst child poverty rates in the country. Thousands of households in poverty have an adult working full or part-time. Eighty-eight percent of new jobs created during Cuomo’s tenure have been low-wage positions.
“The lower unemployment rate doesn’t tell the whole story,” said Miner. “We know that more than 1 million New Yorkers left the state since 2010. We know that people are struggling to find good-paying jobs.”
Miner has frequently pointed to the state’s failing and corrupt economic development programs. She has proposed abolishing Empire State Development and investing in infrastructure. Miner also wants the state to take over Medicaid, relieving homeowners and businesses of high property taxes.