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Jobs report finds most of Upstate still lagging in recession recovery

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New York State Comptroller's Office
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New York State Department of Labor
Five of the eight upstate New York regions have lost more jobs than they have recovered since the Great Recession.

A recently released report from the New York state Comptroller's office finds that upstate is lagging behind the rest of the state in recovering the jobs lost during and after the Great Recession. 

Since the bottom of the economy dropped out in 2009, employment nationwide and in downstate New York has grown by about 2 percent, but it's only increased by 0.3 percent in upstate.

"There’s a mixed bag in the economic recovery across New York state," said comptroller's office spokesperson Brian Butry. "When you look at upstate specifically, there are still pockets that have a long way to go to catch up from where they were in jobs pre recession and post-recession."

Even with the modest growth, upstate has only recovered 79 percent of the jobs that were eliminated during the recession. That's because five of the eight upstate regions had net losses, including in the North Country, Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier and central New York. 

Most of the jobs lost were in the government sector. Speaking on "The Capitol Pressroom" recently, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said government jobs are suffering now because they were shielded from the recession in the beginning with federal stimulus money. Still, the report found that the government is still the largest employer in upstate. 

Butry said most of the regions that have lagged behind may be turning the tide. Many, like central New York, experienced job growth in the last year.

"Central New York’s job increases even from year to date, June 2015 to June 2016, are modest, it is a departure from what has been the norm from 2009 through 2016 which has been an overall decrease in the amount of jobs that the area has," Butry said. "So, it’s good to see in the last 12 months the region has hopefully turned the corner and is on the rebound."

The hospitality and leisure industry has led upstate in jobs recovered.

The report did offer one bright note for upstate. The median wage growth in upstate did outpace downstate and the rate of inflation. 

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.