Tag Archives: rochester

The Best Career Decisions Use Local Information

A local college recently announced a new program to train occupational therapy assistants, citing 41% national growth through 2022 and a persistent labor shortage.

As a job seeker how could you decide whether to invest over $45,000 of your tuition dollars in this program?

Enter the Long-Term Occupational Projections, 2012–2022, for New York State and its 10 labor market regions. These data were just released by the New York State Department of Labor. They tell you the demand for about 700 different detailed occupations, both statewide and in your local area.

Click here to download the chart.

How to Read the Chart

1. Identify your occupational title, which is sometimes easier said than done. Suppose you are looking for information on occupational therapy assistants. That one is not too difficult because there is actually an occupational title named “occupational therapy assistants” (try not to confuse it with occupational therapists or occupational therapy aides). However, you will find that the list is not sorted alphabetically by occupation. To find your title you will need to use Microsoft Excel’s Find function. If you still cannot find an occupation that matches the job title you had in mind, try searching for it on www.onetcodeconnector.org.


2. Check out the Employment numbers. The first tab on the chart is for all of New York State. Note that there are projected to be 2,570 occupational therapy assistant jobs statewide in 2022, 520 more than there were in 2012. That is a growth rate of 25.4% over 10 years—pretty impressive, but not quite as high as the nationwide growth rate cited in our first paragraph. Of course the most important piece of information on this chart is the Total number of Annual Average Openings—just 100 per year. Half of the openings are due to new job growth, half due to replacements for people leaving the occupation.

3. Take a look at the wages. Remember that if you have no experience in the occupation, you will likely start near the entry level. If you can find a job after graduation, $39,720 is probably a high enough annual salary to start paying back those inevitable student loans.


What About Your Local Labor Market?

Information for the Finger Lakes Region, which includes Monroe County plus eight other surrounding counties, can be found in the fourth tab on the chart.


Notice the Total number of Annual Average Openings in the Finger Lakes—zero! (There are actually at least three average annual openings, but rounded to the nearest 10, that equals zero). Thirty or more annual openings would be a less risky number for the Finger Lakes. Some high-demand occupations have 100 or more annual openings.

Entry-level wages for occupational therapy assistants in the Finger Lakes are also a bit lower than statewide—$36,440 annually.

Can You Trust These Numbers?

The Long-Term Occupational Projections are usually fairly consistent with numbers of actual job openings. But for several reasons they are not accurate in every case. So you should always verify them by doing a real-time search on job search web sites.

I performed a search on www.indeed.com for occupational therapy assistants within 50 miles of Rochester, NY, expecting to find only one, or none. To my surprise I found at least four unduplicated, full-time, regular jobs posted. I also found a number of part-time, per diem, or travel jobs. So this was one of those instances where the long-term projections underestimated the number of openings.

Supply and Demand

We cannot discuss demand without also looking at supply. In the labor market demand represents the number of job openings. Supply represents the number of qualified job seekers competing for those jobs. For example, until that new occupational therapy assistant program starts pumping out graduates, we may very well have a labor shortage—even with a relatively small number of annual openings. However, if the college starts graduating 15 occupational therapy assistants per year, we may end up with an oversupply. Graduates of the program would then have to be open to working a travel job or relocating. The long-term projections show that more than half of the statewide openings are likely to be downstate.

So Should You Pursue That Occupation or Not?

When in doubt, get some advice. College counselors can give you an idea of the market for the jobs they prepare you for. But keep in mind that their perspective is limited to the educational programs offered by their school. And admissions counselors at some colleges may advise you with the motive of filling a recruitment quota.

Your local career center is a great place to get a second opinion. If in Rochester, come see us at one of the RochesterWorks! Career Centers. Elsewhere in New York State, find your local career center at http://labor.ny.gov/career-center-locator/.

Opening image from publicdomainpictures.net

Where Are the Skilled Workers? — Rochester

In my recent series, “Where Are the Skilled Workers?” I focused on national trends that could help businesses find talent. (You will find that series on my blog). Can those same strategies help businesses in Rochester, NY?

In November, Unemployment in the Rochester area was still 6.3%. Yet local businesses continue to report difficulty filling key positions. Here are four strategies, based on workforce trends, which can help Rochester businesses find talent.

1. Recruit experienced workers who are un- or under-employed

In November the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported about 4 million long-term unemployed (27 weeks or more) and over 7.5 million part-time workers who want to work full time. Comparative data confirm that Rochester has its fair share of both groups of people. Here are some key reasons why you should consider hiring them.

  • The numbers of discouraged workers and others who are available but no longer actively searching for work have been declining. That trend suggests that many of the long-term unemployed have been going back to work.
  • Both the long-term unemployed and part-time workers have the “soft” skills that you are looking for (otherwise they would not have been in the labor force to begin with).
  • There are still National Emergency Grant funds available to cover the cost of on-the-job training for the long-term unemployed, but they will not be available for long.
  • Part-time workers have demonstrated that they really want to work, and some of them may already be on your payroll.

2. Take advantage of seasonal layoff patterns

Here is another time-sensitive opportunity for you. Layoffs follow predictable, seasonal cycles. Involuntary separations tend to peak in December and January of each year. In contrast, hiring tends to drop to its lowest level in the November–February period. I believe that these national trends hold true for our local area.

You can take advantage of the trends by hiring new employees during the December–February timeframe. You will have both the largest pool of available, experienced workers and the least competition for them. If your company typically lays off workers during this period, could you use the time to strategically retain and train your most valuable employees?

3. Recruit for diversity

Here is a strategy based on data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey for Rochester and Monroe County. Consider the following groups.

  • Younger Workers. There are over 100,000 young men and women, aged 20–29, in Monroe County. You will need them to replace the retiring Baby Boomers.
  • Older Workers. There are nearly 150,000 people, aged 55–74, in Monroe County. The 55-and-older group is the only age demographic whose Labor Force Participation Rate increased in the last decade. So they just may be willing to stay on with you, even if you can only keep them part time.
  • Women. Young women are more likely to have higher basic skills levels than their male counterparts. They may also be interested in the often higher-paying, non-traditional occupations for women.
  • Racial and Ethnic Minorities. Labor Force numbers for white, non-Hispanic men have remained flat since 2000. In contrast, we have seen increases for every other group.
  • Individuals With Disabilities and Veterans. These are two additional groups that are likely to have some solid, transferable skills.

4. Look for workers who are leaving declining occupations or industries.

So you cannot find qualified candidates who have experience in both the occupation and industry for which you are hiring. Could you find someone with experience in one or the other? Or perhaps a qualified candidate has experience in a related occupation or industry with the right set of transferable skills.

You will find a pool of available workers in declining occupations. Rochester-area occupations that are shrinking at the fastest rate include the following.

  • Postal service workers
  • Sewing machine operators and garment pressers
  • Word processors, typists, computer operators, and switchboard operators

The following Rochester-area industry sectors experienced over 10,000 employment separations each during the last quarter of 2012. (Note: These industries are not necessarily in decline. But the workers may be available.)

  • Professional and business services
  • Education and health services
  • Trade, transportation, and utilities

Admittedly, none of these strategies are “silver bullets” for solving your recruitment needs. What they are is an important set of trends to keep in mind when searching for talent.

Image above from publicdomainpictures.net

How Much Does a Job Pay in Rochester, NY?

A recent Fox Business article (http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2013/11/08/where-are-all-middle-wage-jobs/) raised a concern about growing inequality between people with high-wage jobs and those with low-wage jobs. In Rochester, NY we have lost thousands of well-paying manufacturing jobs in recent years. So we too have reason to wonder, “Where are the middle-wage jobs?”

The CareerBuilder & EMSI Occupational Projections report defines a middle (or medium) wage job as one that pays between $13.84 and $21.13 per hour on average.

The good news locally is that many of those middle-wage jobs are right here at home. An analysis of 73 of the top jobs in the Rochester, NY area reveals that 33% of them fall in the middle wage range. In fact Rochester scored far better than the national average on the Gini index, a major measure of income equality.

Rochester, How Are We Doing on International Trade?

The Brookings Institution just released a report on trade among the largest metro areas in North America. The summary, an interesting interactive map, and a link to the full report can be found at http://www.brookings.edu/research/interactives/2013/metro-north-america.

After attending the Manufacturing in the Empire State summit organized by the Coalition for a Prosperous America yesterday, I was very interested in how well the Rochester metro area is doing on international trade.

So how are we doing? Rochester is ranked 39th out of all US metro areas in trade with Canada and Mexico. Our total trade with North America (exports plus imports) is $3,687 million. And 58% of Rochester’s trade with North America is in advanced industries—aerospace, automotive, electronics, machinery, pharmaceuticals, and precision instruments.

Importantly, what does the report not tell us? It does not tell us Rochester’s balance of trade with North America. In other words, are we a net exporter or importer of goods and services? If we extrapolate from the data given on trade with both countries in the top five commodities, it appears that we have a small trade surplus within North America. Our larger surplus with Canada seems to more than offset our deficit with Mexico.

Here is a summary of the most heavily traded commodities. Rochester’s greatest trade advantage with both countries is in the manufacture of chemicals and plastics. We have a surplus in precision instruments, with all of the advantage from trade with Canada. Our trade surplus with Canada in machinery and tools is more than offset by our deficit with Mexico. Areas of significant disadvantage include energy products (Canada) and electronics (Mexico).

Finally, Rochester’s trade with North America accounts for only 25% of our total trade. And the federal government does not collect data on imports at the metro area level. As far as I am aware, we have no way of measuring our balance of trade with the rest of the world.