A vibrant economy is part of the foundation of a thriving community. In this section, we examine trends in employment, average salaries, business establishments and the growth in the public sector as well as evaluating several measures related to transportation. In all cases, comparisons to state statistics reflect the state excluding New York City.
In summary, Cayuga and Seneca counties have:
- Job growth since 2000 at or above the level in the state, and recent losses (2008-09) on par with the state and nation, with especially strong performance in Seneca
- Growth in several of the largest sectors, including Financial Activities
- Unemployment rates in 2010 of about 8%, similar to the state and lower than the nation
- Growth in average salaries near the state rate for Cayuga and above the state and nation in Seneca, though salaries remained below state and national amounts
- An aging population of potential workers, though Seneca is also gaining at the young end of the working-age spectrum
- Rising levels of public assistance income per capita, though still below the state
- Rising spending for local governments and schools, but still below state levels
- More people leaving the county to work than coming in
- Most residents having vehicles in their households and driving themselves to work
Since 2000, Seneca gained 12% more jobs and Cayuga gained 4%, compared to 4% in the state and 5% in the nation. The losses from 2008 to 2009 of 1% in Seneca and 2% in Cayuga were similar to state and national declines.
Government is the largest job sector in the counties, and in 2009 accounted for 18% of total jobs,. In addition, both counties, but especially Seneca, had exceptional growth in Financial Activities for the period, growing the sector to 6% of total jobs.
Overall, from 2001 to 2009, Cayuga had job growth in 4 of the 6 largest job sectors: Government, Health Care and Social Assistance, Financial Activities, and Leisure and Hospitality. Jobs declined in Manufacturing and in Trade, Transportation and Utilities.
Seneca County had job growth in 3 of the 6 largest sectors, including a 55% gain in Financial Services, 28% in Government, and 7% in Trade, Transportation and Utilities. Declining sectors included Professional and Business Services and Leisure and Hospitality. It should be noted that because of Seneca’s overall small size, sector information is not disclosed for about a third of total jobs.
In 2010, Cayuga and Seneca counties had unemployment rates of 8.3% and 7.9%, respectively. Both are similar to the 7.9% rate for the state, but lower than the national rate of 9.6%.
From 2000 to 2010, average salaries increased 4% in Cayuga and 8% in Seneca, compared to growth of 5% in the state and 4% nationally. However, average salaries in Cayuga and Seneca remained below state and national levels, at about $36,000 compared to $46,000-$47,000. Some of the highest salaries in the two counties were paid in the Manufacturing, Construction and Government sectors.
The oldest portion of the working-age population is growing the fastest in Cayuga and Seneca counties, similar to the state and the nation. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of residents ages 45 to 64 grew 28% in Cayuga and 30% in Seneca, while the population of 25- to 44-year-olds fell 19% in Cayuga and 10% in Seneca. Residents between 15 and 24 fell 3% in Cayuga. However, in Seneca, the 15-24 age group was up 22%, about double the rate of growth in the state and nation.
From 2000 to 2010, the total number of businesses increased by 10% in Cayuga and 12% in Seneca, higher than the 8% increase in the state level but below the national increase of 14%. Sectors with business growth included Professional and Business Services in both counties as well as Construction and Financial Activities in Cayuga and Health Care and Social Assistance, and Trade, Transportation and Utilities in Seneca.
In 2009, public assistance income per capita was $2,200 in Cayuga and Seneca counties, below the state per capita of $2,400 but above the national per capita of nearly $2,000. Public assistance income (including welfare, Medicaid, unemployment and food stamps) was up 69% in Cayuga and 46% in Seneca from 2000, with Cayuga above and Seneca below the state and national trends.
In 2009, local governments and schools in both Cayuga and Seneca counties spent about $5,500 per resident, up more than 20% over 2000 levels, but well below the state per capita of $6,600.
About 40% of residents of both Cayuga and Seneca counties left their home counties to work in 2006-08, while 20% of workers in Cayuga and 31% in Seneca were from outside the county. Cayuga had about 9,000 more workers leaving than coming in, and Seneca about 2,000 more leaving.
More than 90% of households in both counties had vehicles in 2006-10, and more than 80% of workers drove themselves to work, while about 10% carpooled and the rest biked, walked or used some other means of transportation.