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Report Examines Hudson Valley Commuter Trends

Courtesy of Famartin via Wikimedia Commons

Hudson Valley residents generally still rely on commuting to New York City for their jobs. A new report from the Marist Bureau of Economic Research shows Manhattan continues to be a magnet for Hudson Valley workers.

The report finds more than 43 percent of working Hudson Valley residents are heading south to New York City for employment. Christy Huebner-Caridi is director of the Marist Bureau for Economic Research at Marist College and assistant professor of economics.

“We aren’t really seeing much difference in the trend that’s been, again, around since the last five-to-10 years,” Huebner-Caridi says. “Commutation, interregional commutation, the patterns are similar to what they have been for the last several years.”

She says Ulster County residents are the most dependent on intra-regional employment at just more than 74 percent, while Westchester County residents are the least dependent upon employment in the region with nearly 49 percent working in the Hudson Valley.

“Rockland’s an interesting example because of the 14, just shy of 15 percent of their commuting is into Westchester for employment. But now, if you talk about Westchester, over 60 percent of the jobs that they hold, commuting jobs, is in the city,” says Huebner-Caridi. “Putnam, for example, 32 percent of the jobs that Putnam holds outside of their home county is in Westchester.”

For Dutchess County, a bit more than 26 percent of residents commuted interregionally, with the greatest numbers heading to Westchester for work. Outside the region, New York City continued to be the most important source of commuter employment at around 21 percent of all commutation and about 12 percent of all primary jobs held. For Orange County residents, New York City also continues to be the most significant source of commuter employment at 28.5 percent of commutation and 16.5 percent of all primary jobs held. More than 19 percent of Orange residents commuted to other Hudson Valley counties, primarily to Rockland and Westchester. Huebner-Caridi says the most surprising aspect of the report is how little has changed in recent years.

“And what’s been happening that is rather concerning for me, at least, is the fact that the persons aged 55 and older, they’re increasing their labor market participation and the number of jobs they’re holding is also expanding. And with respect to people that have multiple jobs, the largest group is the people between 30 and 54, but the second is people 55 and older,” Huebner-Caridi says. “And so it’s a question of why are they holding multiple jobs. Is it because they can’t find full employment or do they have a full-time job and require a secondary job to meet their bills or potentially to rebuild their retirement accounts post-Great Recession.”

The youngest demographic, people 29 and under, represented just north of 20 percent of all primary jobholders in 2017, down slightly on the year. She says one factor of the trend of commuting to New York City is the increasing number of Hudson Valley residents who have relocated from the city. The report does not factor whether residents commuting to New York City for work are doing so just a few days a week and telecommuting the rest, or some combination. Again, Huebner-Caridi:

“Technically, the efficiency of the region has started to improve. And efficiency just means this is how many jobs are available, and this is how many people are in the labor force in a given county,” Huebner-Caridi says. “And the more efficient you are, the more able, the number of jobs in the county either equals or exceeds the number of people looking for employment in the county. Ergo, they import workers.”

The report, “Commutation Trends in the Hudson Valley 2015-2017,” provides county-level detail for Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester.

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