Tech, healthcare jobs help shrink local unemployment to five-year low

By Matt Porter

The state said there are more than 1,500 jobs available in the Greater Binghamton area with many of the jobs coming from tech and healthcare fields.

August 28, 2013 Updated Aug 28, 2013 at 11:19 AM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) The New York State Department of Labor reports the lowest unemployment rate for the Southern Tier since the beginning of the 2008 economic collapse.

The unemployment rate shrunk to 7.1 percent, the lowest it's been since 2008.

In the past year, the unemployment rate numbers fell 1.5 percent, the fastest rate of job growth in more than a year, according to recently released numbers.

The economy, however, still is lagging behind the 5.3 percent unemployment rate before the economic collapse.

The state said there are more than 1,500 jobs available in the Greater Binghamton area, with many of the jobs coming from tech and healthcare fields.

Other fields showing growth are jobs from the leisure and hospitality sectors and construction.

Broome County officials said Tuesday there could be more than 3,000 jobs available.

Christian Harris, an analyst in the Southern Tier regional office for the Department of Labor, said the numbers indicate a brighter future ahead.

"We're very hopeful since we're really not leaders into recoveries. We're usually the first in and last out with economic downturns. It's largely believed to be our reliance on the manufacturing sector," Harris said. "I think we're being pulled out due to strength at the national and state level."

Healthcare jobs are expected to continue to be in strong demand as the new healthcare law takes effect causing more people to enter the healthcare system.

Binghamton University's high-tech incubator is also expected to develop companies that could build their workforce in the Southern Tier.