Upstate NY lags behind NYC, rest of country in job growth

Upstate New York continues to trail downstate as well as the nation as a whole when it comes to job growth following the economic downturn, according to a report released Friday by the state comptroller.

Total employment upstate rose 0.3 percent since June 2009, when the Great Recession ended, compared to 2.2 percent for downstate and 1.9 percent nationally.

The area around Albany saw the largest employment gains upstate, while other regions actually lost jobs since the recession ended in 2009. The biggest losses were seen in the Southern Tier, which saw a 2.5 percent decline, and the Mohawk Valley, which experienced a 2.8 percent loss.

Overall, upstate areas have recovered 79 percent of the 128,000 jobs lost during the recession.

"On the surface, New York's economy has rebounded from the Great Recession," said Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, a Democrat. "But it should come as no surprise that a closer look reveals pockets of the state still have a long way to go to catch up."

In one positive sign, the upstate economy saw larger gains in average wages than either downstate or the nation last year.

The report also found that the public sector provides 21 percent of jobs in the upstate, its largest single source of employment.