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Marist Report: More HV Residents Are Working, More Commuting

The gap between the number of people working in the Hudson Valley and the number of jobs in the region continues to grow. That’s according to the latest research from Marist College. WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief has more.

Marist College Bureau of Economic Research Director Dr. Christy HuebnerCaridi authored the report “Commutation Trends in the Hudson Valley 2010-2014.”

“Since the onset of the Great Recession, fewer and fewer jobs have been held by Hudson Valley residents in Hudson Valley so they’re commuting outside of the region or commuting outside of their home county,” says Huebner Caridi. “Before the Great Recession it was about 50/50, now, at least across the entire region, it’s like 56 percent of residents actually commute to work. Now most of it, about 25 percent, is actually interregional, so they’re not moving particularly far, it could be someone going from Orange to Rockland or Orange to Westchester, Putnam to Westchester, that kind of thing.”

The report considers a seven-county region — Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester. Huebner Caridi says the Hudson Valley region is creating fewer jobs than the number of people seeking employment. Huebner Caridi addresses individual counties.

“Basically, in the region, Sullivan and Ulster are the most dependent on Hudson Valley and their home county for work,” says Huebner Caridi. “Westchester is absolutely the least. Westchester is about 50/50 and almost 65 percent of all their commuting is actually into New York City.”

For Dutchess and Ulster Counties, the percentages of jobs for these residents outside their counties are 72.5 percent and 73.6 percent, respectively. The report also looked at, by age, who is commuting and what portion of the population that could be in the labor force is.

“And essentially, for the whole Hudson Valley, the people between 30 and 54, about 69 percent of all those people  in 2014 were actually in the labor force,” Huebner Caridi says. “And they held 54 percent of all the jobs in the Hudson Valley.”

She says the 55 and older segment holding primary jobs continues to increase and the number of secondary jobs also is increasing. Among the report's other major findings, labor force participation among people age 55 and older increased over the study period, the latest for which data is available, while participation by those age 29 and younger decreased. Meanwhile, Huebner Caridi looks at an overall continuing trend.

“If I look at this in concert with migration data, which we also do for the region, one of the big trends that’s been going on since about ’98, ’99, give or take, is this continual movement from New York City up through the Hudson Valley,” says Huebner Caridi. “During the housing bubble, it was basically New York City to essentially Westchester. Westchester prices would rise so people from Westchester would move to Rockland. Rockland prices would start to rise. People from Rockland would move to Orange.”

And the migration from New York would continue further away from the city to northern Hudson Valley counties. Huebner Caridi says, in any given year, the Hudson Valley region is gaining households from New York City, but there is no way to tell whether these households are still commuting to the city for work. Huebner Caridi says anecdotal evidence points to some residents new to the Hudson Valley with jobs in New York City, who switch to telecommuting and reducing to a few days a week their commute, becoming more involved in their communities. There’s a second effect.

“Because so many people have moved up here from New York City, many people have bought second homes, not primary, so many of these communities are now servicing this New York City population, even if they only come up on the weekends,” Huebner Caridi says. “So it’s pushing up costs in the area.”

And this, she says, makes it more difficult for residents to live on Hudson Valley incomes as the cost of living rises faster than wages. In summary, New York City is, by far, the largest source of jobs for Hudson Valley residents outside their home region, with Long Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York’s Capital Region also providing significant numbers of jobs.

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