A recent report from the state Department of Labor revealed that the number of jobs in Greene County is at an all-time high, county officials said Monday.
The county experienced a 1.9% increase in nonfarm jobs from December 2018 to December 2019, according to the report, going from 15,700 jobs to 16,000. Greene County was among seven areas that are gaining jobs faster than the state rate, according to the report. The other counties include Allegany, Seneca, Ithaca Metro, Cortland, Sullivan and New York City.
“We are doing well in a variety of sectors,” Greene County Department of Economic Development and Planning Director Karl Heck said.
The county is experiencing growth in a few sectors, such as manufacturing and hospitality, and none of the sectors are declining, Heck said.
“Travel and tourism is continuing to generate jobs,” he said.
Throughout the state, leisure and hospitality had the third-highest employment increase in the last year, with almost 21,000 jobs gained.
Greene County had the third-highest percentage for job growth in rural areas in the state and the fourth highest overall, Greene County Chamber of Commerce President Jeff Friedman said.
“From what we can tell, this is the highest we’ve ever had,” Friedman said. “We have a very strong economy in Greene County. Sales tax revenue is at a record high and exceeded last year’s budget projections.”
Many new businesses have come into the area, Friedman said.
“We are in a healthy economic climate,” he said. “We are doing better than a lot of upstate counties, especially rural counties.”
In addition to businesses, hotels are on the rise, Greene County Legislature Chairman Patrick Linger, R-New Baltimore, said last week.
Five hotel projects are in the works in the county, which is unprecedented, Linger said. Two are in Coxsackie, one is on Main Street in Catskill, one is at the Catskill Golf Course and one is at the former site of the Quality Inn near Thruway Exit 21 in Catskill.
Aspiring businesses can apply for loans from the county, such as the state Community Development Block Grant Program, which is administered by the county’s Local Development Corporation.
One of the requirements of receiving these loans is to establish a job-creation program.
“Our biggest impediment is the labor force,” Heck said. “Our employers are seeking more people, which is a good thing.”
Development at the Greene County Industrial Development Agency’s properties near Exit 21 will bring in additional jobs, Heck said, such as the new medical building recently announced by Columbia Memorial Hospital.
“This will bring a large number of good-paying jobs to the community,” Heck said. “The future is bright for us.”
Overall, jobs in the state increased at rate of 1.1% in the last year, Columbia County at 0% and the Albany-Schenectady-Troy Metro Area at 0.4%, according to the report.
The state’s unemployment remains stable at 4%, according to the report.
“Between 2018 and 2019, the annual jobless rate in New York state declined by 0.1 percentage points and the number of unemployed New Yorkers dropped by more than 14,000,” according to the report.
Unemployment is at a historic low in Greene County, Friedman said.
“The county is operating near full employment,” he said.