Our area's economy has undergone many transformations during its history. Water-powered mills helped Rochester become the "Flour City" in the early 19th century. The opening of the Erie Canal made the city an early American boomtown, and the development of the photographic industry catapulted Rochester into a position of worldwide economic significance. Today we are transforming to a more diverse economy focused on high-technology industry, education, health care, and a growing small and mid-sized business sector. This transformation reflects the national trend from manufacturing. Locally, significant losses in manufacturing have been offset by gains in other sectors, particularly education and financial activities.
Between 2010 and 2018, the region gained back the 17,000 jobs it had lost from 2008 to 2010. The rate of increase in 2018 (1.3%) was below the state (2.3%) and nation (2.0%). The region's employment-to-population ratio in 2014-18 was slightly higher than the state and similar to the nation at 60%.
The region’s unemployment rate declined to 4.2% in 2018, similar to the nation and the state. The region’s rate jumped from 5.6% in 2008 to a high of 8.1% in 2010 before beginning to descend in 2013.
The Educational Services and Financial Activities in the region grew between 2001 and 2018 (46% and 38%), while jobs in the Manufacturing and Information (36% and 40% respectively) sectors declined. The Trade, Transportation, and Utilities sector provided the most jobs in the region at 16% of the total in 2018, followed by Health Care and Social Assistance and Professional and Business Services sectors making up 13% of the total.
The average salary in 2018 in the region of $49,200 was below the state ($72,900) and national ($57,300) figures. All sectors have wages below state figures, and the rate of increase in average salary has consistently lagged in comparison since 2004.
Since 2000, the number of businesses in the region has grown 11%. Gaining sectors included Educational Services and Professional and Business Sectors.
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