Some sectors that will see more employment are lodging and food services; healthcare and social assistance; transportation and warehousing; and professional and business services
By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the job market has experienced changes unprecedented in our lifetimes. But one thing that’s certain is that anyone who wants a job has plenty of opportunity to find one in Central New York.
Michelle Jevis, co-owner of CR Fletcher Temps and CR Fletcher Industrials in Syracuse, said that in both administrative roles and hands-on rolls, “there’s a shortage of talent in medical facilities, like medical technicians to general business support.”
The pandemic only exacerbated the chronic shortage of workers in healthcare. Already, the industry was dealing with factors such as the youngest generation’s reduced interest in hands-on work, waves of retiring baby boomers and increased demand for healthcare by the aging population. The pandemic dealt an additional blow with even greater demand for healthcare workers of all types and a wave of workers quitting the field.
For numerous years, the trades have struggled to fill roles. The emphasis on college education since Gen X came of age has pulled many students away from considering these jobs.
“We hear from employers on a regular basis that they are in need of electricians, mechanics and similar positions,” said Rachel Pierce, executive director of Workforce Development Board of Oswego County in Fulton.
One answer to this quandary has been introducing apprenticeship programs to provide paid work paired with free education.
“Apprenticeships are also being introduced in the IT and healthcare fields, along with vocational training for healthcare, transportation and various industry-specific certifications,” Pierce said.
Locally, trade positions are likely to increase exponentially as Micron begins operations in Clay. Randy Wolken president and CEO of the Manufacturers Association of Central New York, views the local outlook for the trades as exceptional. “Given the investments that have been committed to our region, there will be thousands, potentially tens of thousands of jobs. Micron is talking about nearly half its employees being technicians, up to 5,000 technicians, just at Micron, not the other 40,000 jobs associated with suppliers. It’s the largest investment in US in general.”
Production is slated for the first quarter of 2026.
Wolken said that construction workers, electronic technicians, quality control, CNC machinists, maintenance mechanics, welders and toolmakers are among the openings Micron will need to fill. MACNY is working with high schools and vocational institutions to create programs that will help locals get the skills and experience they need to fill these roles.
Karen Knapik-Scalzo, associate economist with the New York State Department of Labor, said that the job market is “very strong” for those seeking employment in the Syracuse metropolitan area in most industries and occupations, with the addition of 9,500 nonfarm jobs from November 2021 through November 2022 — a 3.1% growth rate.
The unemployment rate was only 2.5% in October 2022.
She foresees “strong job growth” in numerous facets of the CNY economy, including lodging and food services; healthcare and social assistance; transportation and warehousing; and professional and business services.
Like Wolken, she acknowledged that the area has a strong need for more construction and manufacturing workers and workers possessing skills and experience in science, technology, engineering and math.
According to the New York Department of Labor, the jobs in demand and with the
best median annual wage in CNY are currently:
Job Median Annual Wage in CNY
General and Operations Managers: $101,285.88
Business Teachers, Post-Secondary: $102,112.51
Middle School Teachers: $88,355.65
Secondary School Teachers: $79,860.44
Accountants and Auditors: $79,572.57
Executive Secretaries / Executive Administrative Assistants: $68,541.22
Sales Representatives: $64,382.62
First-Line Supervisors Of Office And Administrative Workers: $63,802.07
Educational, Guidance, School and Vocational Counselors: $61,933.65