By Greg Hitchcock
Saratoga County has taken its place as an economic powerhouse trending to continue growing into 2019, with nearby Warren and Washington counties benefiting from this growth.
According to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce, 17 counties in New York state had employment gains from June 2017 to June 2018 with Saratoga County having the largest gain up 2.7 percent.
“All three counties have grown their private sector over the last five years with GlobalFoundries kicking off this growth,” said Andrew Kennedy, president and chief executive officer of the Center for Economic Growth, an economic and business development agency serving as a primary point of contact for businesses interested in growing in or moving to the Capital Region.
GlobalFoundries is an American semiconductor foundry headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif. The Emirate of Abu Dhabi is the owner of the company through its subsidiary Advanced Technology Investment Co.
In 2014, the Silicon Valley Company established a U.S. chip making plant Fab 8 within Luther Forest Technology Campus in Malta that employs 3,400. Although it recently faced layoffs, it is still an economic force that has contributed to growth in Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties.
“GlobalFoundries allowed for the expansion of other Saratoga County businesses and spilled off to other counties,” Kennedy said.
Manchester Wood in Granville closed in 2018, but Kennedy said he has seen other companies grow and expand in the area with new industries.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported New York County ranked 44th with an over-the-year wage gain of 4.4 percent. Saratoga County ranked 50th and Albany County 59th among the 349 large counties in the nation with over-the-year wage increases of 4.3 and 4.2 percent, respectively.
Along with the increase in wages, employment rose in 17 of the 18 largest counties in New York from June 2017 to June 2018. Five counties (Saratoga, Kings, Queens, Rockland, and Orange) had employment growth above the national rate of 1.5 percent.
Building has also taken off in Saratoga County. In 2017, the U.S. Census Bureau reported 1,122 building permits in Saratoga County.
Kennedy said Glens Falls is a revitalization success story through revitalizing its downtown and said the area has seen a decline in support service jobs, but a larger growth in manufacturing jobs.
“We focus our attention on manufacturing and technology companies,” he said.
“We are well insulated by our diversity and incentives making us attractive to investors,” Kennedy said. “We have been better off than other counties in upstate New York. Our quality of life, diversity, and public-private partnerships are selling points.”
CEG provides funding and other support services to new and existing companies to remain competitive including energy efficiency programs.
According to Kennedy, the CEG invested $1 million providing services to industry and local companies and has helped 20 companies in the last five years as it continues its work.
Among those that have benefited include Darn Good Yarn in Clifton Park, Cascade Tissues in Waterford and Cambridge Valley Veterinary Hospital in Cambridge.
By Greg Hitchcock