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September 22, 2005

Hudson Valley has the Fastest Rate of Job
Growth in the State; Tourism, Business,
Health and Education Sectors Fuel Gains

Hevesi to present Hudson Valley economic trends report at 2:30 p.m.
Friday, September 23 in Newburgh at Mid-Hudson Pattern for Progress
and Hudson Valley Alliance of Supervisors workshop

The Hudson Valley has a vibrant economy that is the strongest of any region within New York State, according to a report issued today by State Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi.

The report found that the Hudson Valley has the fastest employment growth within the State, an expanding tourism sector, and a high concentration of jobs in the relatively well-paying professional and business services sector. The area also has some of the highest home values in the State.

The report includes Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties. Hevesi will present the report findings in Newburgh Friday at a workshop his office will provide on multi-year financial planning for the Mid-Hudson Pattern for Progress and Hudson Valley Alliance of Supervisors. The workshop will be held at the Ramada Inn in Newburgh, and Hevesi will speak at 2:30 p.m. Individuals interested in attending must pre-register by calling 845-565-4900.

“The Hudson Valley’s economy is in great shape and is growing rapidly,” Hevesi said. “Incomes are rising, unemployment rates are falling, and over the last decade, the region’s economy has become less dependent on New York City, even expanding during the last recession when the City’s economy contracted.”

Westchester, in particular, has become a major business center in its own right, with most of the region’s largest employers located there. More than 74 percent of the Hudson Valley’s residents work in the region, with Westchester as the primary work location. Only about 12 percent of the region’s residents commuted to Manhattan for work. Westchester even pulls in “reverse commuters” who live in New York City.

“Economic growth has brought many benefits to the Hudson Valley, along with new challenges,” Hevesi said. “Businesses and government must work together to ensure that the pace of growth can be maintained without diminishing the quality of life that attracts people and businesses to the region.”

President and CEO of Pattern for Progress Michael J. DiTullo said, “We are pleased that Comptroller Hevesi is coming to the Hudson Valley to present for the first time a regional economic overview regarding the valley’s competitive advantages.”

Major highlights of the report include:

  • Employment growth in the Hudson Valley exceeded job growth elsewhere in New York State in the first eight months of 2005, with a gain of 2.2 percent—more than twice the Statewide average increase of 1 percent.
  • The educational and health services sector is one of the Hudson Valley’s fastest-growing sectors—it increased by 2.8 percent during the first eight months of 2005—and is the second-largest private sector industry in the region. Strong growth also occurred in the professional and business services sector and the financial activities sector.
  • The leisure and hospitality sector has become an important part of the Mid-Hudson Valley economy, especially in Sullivan County. In 2004, employment in this sector made up 14.1 percent of all jobs in the county and 8.9 percent of employment in the region.
  • Through August 2005, the unemployment rate for the Hudson Valley declined to 4.1 percent from 4.7 percent during the same period last year.
  • Fueled by strong gains in the professional and business services sector and the financial activities sector, total wages in the Hudson Valley grew by 6.7 percent in 2004,
  • Sullivan County had the fastest rate of job growth in the State for the first eight months of 2005—7.9 percent. Growth in the leisure and hospitality sector accounted for almost half the jobs added this year.
  • Putnam County has the lowest unemployment rate in the region, at 3.7 percent.
  • Westchester County had the fastest rate of wage growth in the region in 2004, with an 8.5 percent gain.
  • Westchester County had the highest median home value in the State in 2004—$570,000. Overall, six of the seven counties in the region were in the top ten counties for home values in New York State. Within the region, Putnam County had the highest rate of home ownership (82.2 percent).
  • Property values in Dutchess, Orange, and Rockland counties have grown by more than two thirds between 2000 and 2004. The lowest growth rate in the region was in Westchester County, which grew by 58.4 percent.
  • Orange County had the fastest population growth of any county in the State between 2000 and 2004, with a 7.9 percent gain, and it was the only county in the State where more U.S.-born residents moved in than moved out. For the Hudson Valley as a whole, the population increased by 3.3 percent during this period, compared to a 1.2 percent gain Statewide.
  • Traffic congestion is a growing issue for the region. More than 80 percent of the region’s residents drive or carpool to work—only 11.4 percent use mass transit. Average commutes for residents in Dutchess, Orange, Rockland and Westchester counties were up to one third longer than the national average of 24.3 minutes. Within New York State, only residents of Nassau County and the New York City boroughs, other than Manhattan, had longer commutes (which ranged between 33.2 minutes and 41.7 minutes).

Click here for a copy of the report.


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