Economy






Our area's economy has undergone many transformations during its history. Water-powered mills helped Rochester become the "Flour City" in the early 19th century. The opening of the Erie Canal made the city an early American boomtown, and the development of the photographic industry catapulted Rochester into a position of worldwide economic significance. Today we are transforming to a more diverse economy focused on high-technology industry, education, health care, and a growing small and mid-sized business sector. This transformation reflects the national trend from manufacturing. Locally, significant losses in manufacturing have been offset by gains in other sectors, particularly education and financial activities. 

Between 2020 and 2021, the region gained about 15,000 jobs while recovering from COVID-19 and ensuing shutdowns.  The rate in 2021 was similar to the state (2.6%) and below the nation (3.0%). The region's employment-to-population ratio in 2017-21 was on par with the state and similar to the nation at 60%.

In 2021, the region’s unemployment rate was 4.9%, showing recovery from the 8% rate during the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing shutdowns. The region’s 2021 rate was similar to the national level and slightly lower than the state levels (5.3% and 6.9%, respectively).

The Educational Services and Financial Activities  in the region grew between 2001 and 2021 (38% and 50%), while jobs in the Manufacturing and Information sectors declined (39% and 52% respectively). The Trade, Transportation, and Utilities sector provided the most jobs in the region at 16% of the total in 2021, followed by Health Care and Social Assistance and Professional and Business Services sectors making up 13% of the total.

The average salary in 2021 in the region of $57,500 was below the state ($88,000) and national ($67,600) figures.  All sectors have wages below state figures, and the rate of increase in average salary has consistently lagged in comparison since 2004.

Since 2000, the number of businesses in the region has grown 11%. Gaining sectors included Educational Services and Professional and Business Sectors.

The gender pay gap in our region is similar to the state and nation, with females earning about 70 cents for every dollar earned by males.








Worse than NYS by 10% or more
Up to 10% worse than NYS
Equal to or better than NYS


INDICATORS - Grouped by Topic REGIONAL VALUE YEAR NYS COMPARISON TREND | REGION
Prenatal Care 78% 2019 3 1
Increasing
Prenatal Care, by Race/Ethnicity 0 10 Not Applicable*
Babies Born with Low Birth Weights 8.4% 2019 2 1
Increasing
Babies Born with Low Birth Weights, Race/Ethnicity 0 10 Not Applicable*
Infant Mortality Rate 6.9 2017-19 2 0
Maintaining
Infant Mortality Rate, Race/Ethnicity 0 10 Not Applicable*
Children with Elevated Blood Lead Levels 0.8% 2019 2 -1
Decreasing
Children in Poverty 18% 2017-21 3 1
Increasing
Children in Poverty, Race/Ethnicity 2017-21 0 10 Not Applicable*
Single-Parent Families 39% 2017-21 2 1
Increasing
Single-Parent Families, by Race/Ethnicity 2017-21 0 10 Not Applicable*
Rate of Child Abuse and Neglect 20 2020 2 1
Increasing
Rate of Foster Care Admissions 1.8 2020 2 -1
Decreasing
Rate of Teen Pregnancy 1.3% 2019 3 -1
Decreasing
Rate of Teen Births 12 2019 2 -1
Decreasing
Arts and Culture Attendance 2019 0 10 Not Applicable*
Tourism Spending $1,399 2021 1 0
Maintaining
Recreation Spending $83 2021 1 -1
Decreasing
Voter Registration Rate 83% 2020 2 1
Increasing
Voter Participation Rate 64% 2020 3 1
Increasing
Registered Library Borrowers 55% 2020 3 -1
Decreasing
Library Visits 2.5 2020 3 -1
Decreasing
Charitable Contributions as a Percentage of Income 0.8% 2019 2 -1
Decreasing
Households Without Vehicles 10% 2017-21 3 0
Maintaining
Total Population 1.4% 2021 2 1
Increasing
Population by Age 2017-21 0 10 Not Applicable*
Population by Race/Ethnicity 2017-21 0 10 Not Applicable*
Population by Age and Race/Ethnicity 2017-21 0 10 Not Applicable*
Disengaged Youth, Ages 16 to 19 6% 2017-21 3 -1
Decreasing
Median Household Income $64,995 2017-21 1 -1
Decreasing
Median Household Income, by Race/Ethnicity 2017-21 0 10 Not Applicable*
People Living in Poverty 13% 2017-21 3 1
Increasing
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity 2017-21 0 10 Not Applicable*
People Living in Poverty, by Sex 2017-21 0 10 Not Applicable*
Public Assistance Recipients 1.2% 2021 3 -1
Decreasing
Approval Rate for Public Assistance Applications 22% 2021 0 -1
Decreasing
Females Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity 2017-21 0 10 Not Applicable*
Seniors Living in Poverty, by Sex 2017-21 0 10 Not Applicable*
Households Receiving SNAP 13% 2017-21 3 -1
Decreasing
Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity 2017-21 0 10 Not Applicable*
Female Seniors Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity 2017-21 0 10 Not Applicable*
Tax Filers Receiving Earned Income Tax Credit 15% 2019 3 -1
Decreasing
EITC Dollars $173 2019 1 -1
Decreasing
Change in Total Jobs 2.3% 2021 2 1
Increasing
Change in Number of Business Establishments by Sector 2021 0 10 Not Applicable*
Change in Jobs by Sector 2021 0 10 Not Applicable*
Sector Shares of Regional Total Employment 2021 0 10 Not Applicable*
Unemployment Rate 4.9% 2021 3 1
Increasing
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity 2017-21 0 10 Not Applicable*
Average Salary by Sector 2021 0 10 Not Applicable*
Change in Average Salary Since 2000 12% 2021 3 1
Increasing
Change in Average Salary Since 2000 by Sector 2021 0 10 Not Applicable*
Employment-to-Population Ratio 59% 2017-21 3 -1
Decreasing
Prekindergarten Participation 58% 2020 3 1
Increasing
School Spending Per Student $23,561 2020 1 1
Increasing
Instructional Spending Per Student $16,983 2020 1 1
Increasing
Students Receiving Special Education Services 2021 0 -1
Decreasing
Grade 3 English 44% 2019 2 1
Increasing
Grade 3 English by Student Subgroup 2019 0 10 Not Applicable*
Grade 3 English by Race/Ethnicity 2019 0 10 Not Applicable*
Grade 3 Math 49% 2019 2 1
Increasing
Grade 3 Math by Student Subgroup 2019 0 10 Not Applicable*
Grade 3 Math by Race/Ethnicity 2019 0 10 Not Applicable*
Grade 8 English 39% 2019 2 1
Increasing
Grade 8 English by Student Subgroup 2019 0 10 Not Applicable*
Grade 8 English by Race/Ethnicity 2019 0 10 Not Applicable*
Grade 8 Math 49% 2019 2 1
Increasing
Regents Algebra 1 73% 2019 3 1
Increasing
Regents English 83% 2019 2 1
Increasing
Four-Year Cohort Graduation Rate 89% 2021 3 1
Increasing
Cohort Graduation Rate, Beyond Four Years 89% 2021 3 1
Increasing
Four-Year Cohort Graduation Rate by Race/Ethnicity 2021 0 10 Not Applicable*
Education Levels of Adults 2017-21 0 10 Not Applicable*
Education Levels of Adults by Race/Ethnicity 2017-21 0 10 Not Applicable*
People Without Health Insurance 5% 2020 3 -1
Decreasing
Supply of Doctors 35.3 2019 1 1
Increasing
Mortality Rate 693 2019 1 -1
Decreasing
Chlamydia Rate 55 2018 3 1
Increasing
Chlamydia Rates, Race/Ethnicity, Monroe County 0 10 Not Applicable*
Gonorrhea Rate 18 2018 3 -1
Decreasing
Maternal Health, by Race/Ethnicity 2016-18 0 10 Not Applicable*
Gonorrhea Rates, Race/Ethnicity, Monroe County 0 10 Not Applicable*
Early Syphilis Rates 1.8 2018 3 1
Increasing
Early Syphilis Rates within Monroe County, by Race/Ethnicity 0 10 Not Applicable*
People Living with HIV 105 2021 0 1
Increasing
People Living with HIV by Race/Ethnicity 2019 0 10 Not Applicable*
People Living with AIDS 124 2021 0 1
Increasing
People Living with AIDS by Race/Ethnicity 2019 0 10 Not Applicable*
Percent of Days with Good Air Quality 0 10 Not Applicable*
Alcohol-related Crashes 2.7 2021 2 -1
Decreasing
Median Home Value $151,405 2017-21 1 1
Increasing
Admissions to Substance Abuse Treatment by Primary Substance 2021 0 10 Not Applicable*
Median Rental Prices $936 2017-21 3 -1
Decreasing
Housing Affordability for Homeowners 2.3 2017-21 3 0
Maintaining
Housing Affordability for Homeowners by Race/Ethnicity 2016-20 0 10 Not Applicable*
Overall Housing Cost Burden 28% 2017-21 3 -1
Decreasing
Housing Affordability for Renters 32% 2017-21 3 10 Not Applicable*
Rent Burdened Households 48% 2017-21 3 -1
Decreasing
Housing Affordability for Renters by Race/Ethnicity 2016-20 0 10 Not Applicable*
Homeownership Rate 68% 2017-21 3 -1
Decreasing
Homeownership Rate by Race/Ethnicity 2017-21 0 10 Not Applicable*
Vacant Housing Units 9% 2017-21 3 1
Increasing
Homeless Persons 0 10 Not Applicable*
Serious Crimes 165 2021 3 -1
Decreasing
Violent Crimes 25 2021 3 1
Increasing
Victims of Domestic Violence 59 2021 0 -1
Decreasing
Incarceration Rates 10.0 2021 0 -1
Decreasing
Incarceration Rates, by Race/Ethnicity 2018 0 10 Not Applicable*
Arrest Rates 130.1 2020 2 -1
Decreasing
Arrest Rates, by Race/Ethnicity 2020 0 10 Not Applicable*
Per-Capita Spending for Local Government $3,731 2019 0 1
Increasing
Female to Male Earnings Ratio 0.70 2017-21 3 0
Maintaining
*No or multiple regional values for this indicator


Worse than NYS by 10% or more
Up to 10% worse than NYS
Equal to or better than NYS





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