Using newly available measures of gross domestic product (GDP) at the metropolitan area level, authors Jaison R. Abel and Richard Deitz find that upstate New York experienced below-average output growth between 2001 and 2006. Furthermore, productivity levels and productivity growth were below the U.S. average.
The study observes that over the past several decades, manufacturing-oriented regions such as upstate New York have tended to grow more slowly, especially as the industry has shed jobs. Thus, upstate’s performance, while generally sluggish, is not unusual compared with that of other manufacturing areas in the Great Lakes and Northeast regions. Still, overall the upstate New York region is performing somewhat better than many manufacturing-oriented metro areas in the Great Lakes region.
The authors measure the size of the upstate New York economy, including the economies of the major metropolitan areas, and examine the pace of growth from 2001 to 2006. They determine that the aggregate upstate economy produced more than $200 billion in goods and services in 2006, a figure rivaling the output of many states. Yet like the Northeast and Midwest more broadly, the region was subject to below-average output growth over the period.
Abel and Deitz also combine the new GDP output measures with employment data to construct their own measures of upstate labor productivity, which they use to analyze the rate of productivity growth. Here, they find that upstate New York generally had lower productivity levels and productivity growth than the nation, although upstate exceeded many of its peers in the Great Lakes region in terms of real productivity growth.
Jaison R. Abel is an economist and Richard Deitz a research officer in the Microeconomic and Regional Studies Function of the Research and Statistics Group.