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ITHACA, N.Y. — The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported October’s jobs numbers for Tompkins County late last week.

The numbers showed our local economy continues to slowly shed jobs and reduce hours worked per week.  The overall results are lower average weekly earnings. 

The numbers and charts below come from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Jobs fall by 1,600

Total nonfarm employees in Ithaca, seasonally adjusted, was 68.6 thousand in October of 2015.  This is compared to 70.2 thousand 1 year ago.  

This represents a decline of 1,600 fewer jobs than a year ago or a decline 2.3%.

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 1.54.01 PM

Weekly hours fall from 34 to 32.3

Average weekly hours worked of all employees in the private sector in Ithaca was 32.3 hours.  This is a decline of 1.7 hours from an average workweek of 34.0 hours reported for October of 2014.

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 1.54.12 PM

Hourly earnings drop from $26.50 to $23.70

Average hourly earnings for private sector employees were reported for October at $23.70 per hour.  This is compared to $26.50 in October of 2014.   

Weekly earnings down about 15 percent

With both average weekly hours worked and average hourly earnings down, average weekly earnings have also taken a hit per the BLS.  

Average weekly earnings for private sector employees in Ithaca were $757.60 for October.   This is down from $894 per week reported for October of 2014.  From a year over year perspective, this decline in weekly earnings represents a little over 15%.

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 1.54.30 PM

Education and Health Services Sector Focus

The two dominant sectors in our local economy are Education and Health Services.  Jobs numbers for that sector in Ithaca are reported combined.  As of October of this year, there were 37.1 thousand employees in those two sectors.  This is down from 38.5 thousand one year ago.  This represents a decline of 1.4 thousand jobs from a year ago per BLS.  These sectors also represent the bulk of the 1.6 thousand less jobs in Ithaca from one year ago as well.

The BLS does not report monthly average weekly hours or average hourly earnings for these sectors.  

As you can tell from the chart above, there is a degree of volatility in the reported numbers.  Also, previous months numbers can all be revised up or down in subsequent reports.

However, there does appear to be a formidable trend in lower average weekly earnings and it does appear that jobs in the Education and Health Services sector have peaked over the last two years or so and that is likely impacting growth in our local economy.  

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Jason Tillberg is a resident of Newfield. He is married with two daughters, aged 2 and 4. He contributes investment and economic research to the investment blog, SeekingAlpha.com and has had prior...