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Despite some weak spots, Syracuse metro area gained 3,600 jobs in 2017

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO News File Photo
Lockheed Martin's job fair in Syracuse in January.

The Syracuse Metropolitan Area gained more than 3,500 private sector jobs in 2017. But there are some weak spots in the local economy. 

Karen Knapik-Scalzo, an associate economist with the New York State Department of Labor in Syracuse, said the region’s 1.4 percent growth rate is a little below the national growth rate, which is normal for the area.

“For Syracuse that is a decent growth rate," Knapik-Scalzo said. "We’re close to where we were in terms of our total number of jobs prior to the last recession. We’ve made progress in terms of improving our economy.”

Syracuse’s unemployment rate in December at 5.1 percent is also one percent higher than the national rate.

Most major industries are growing in the region, which includes Oswego, Onondaga and Madison counties. Jobs rose in educational and health services, leisure and hospitality, professional business, manufacturing and construction.

"It's positve that our growth has been broad-based, in terms of impacting a lot of different industry sectors," Knapik-Scalzo said.

She also said some local employers are experiencing labor shortages of skilled workers.

“Some of our defense contractors and engineering folks and research and development people and project managers, those are all occupations that are very good paying and we need more of in the Syracuse area,” Knapik-Scalzo said.

Only two major industry sectors, financial activities and retail trade, had job losses. The area lost 1,100 retail jobs last year, a trend happening across the country.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.