The Index of Economic Activity
in Tompkins County

  Department of Economics
  at Ithaca College



Front Page Historical Data Outlook Archives Methodology


October 2012

The Ithaca College Index of Economic Activity in Tompkins County edged lower in October to a level of 157.83 from a revised mark of 158.85 in September. This amounts to a dip of 0.64 percent. A drop in employment dragged the index down.  Building permits showed strength while retail sales, air traffic, homes sales, and help wanted advertising held steady. Compared to October 2011, overall economic activity was up 3.50 percent.




Tompkins County lost 1,400 jobs in October, bringing total employment to 64,500 on a seasonally adjusted basis. Employment has been a weak spot throughout the year and there is a good chance we could end up with fewer jobs than we had in 2011.

Retail sales have not been strong in 2011, either. However, they are running almost 6 percent ahead of last year’s pace. That leads us to forecast a six percent increase in holiday sales in Tompkins County. That would amount to $320 million in retail sales for November and December. The National Retail Federation is predicting a 4.1 percent jump over the same period for the nation.

The number of passengers boarding and deplaning at Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport maintained altitude in October registering a miniscule 0.03 percent decline. Compared to October 2011, air traffic was off 8.00 percent.

Residential building permits issued in Tompkins County vaulted 99.81 percent in October. Building permits are an extremely volatile indicator. They are up 25 percent over last year’s average.

Home sales nudged ahead 1.16 percent in October when County realtors sold 70 homes on a seasonally adjusted basis compared to 69 in September. Compared to October 2011, home sales were up 9.38 percent. The average sale price was $189,000 compared to $201,600 a year earlier. The median home sold for $159,500 compared to $190,000 a year earlier.

Help wanted advertising advanced 3.98 percent in October. Compared to October 2011, help wanted advertising was up 6.53 percent.




(from SEP 2012)


(from OCT 2011)


         2.21 %

         3.74 %

Retail Sales

         1.34 %

         0.07 %

Air Passengers

         0.03 %

         8.00 %

Building Permits

       98.11 %

       94.87 %

Home Sales

         1.16 %

         9.38 %

Help Wanted Advertising

         3.98 %

         6.53 %

Index of Economic Activity

         0.64 %

         3.50 %


With two months of data yet to come the Tompkins County economy is on track to grow 0.25 percent in 2012.

  The Index of Economic Activity in Tompkins County is a public service of Ithaca College.

Maintained by Elia Kacapyr (
Last updated 11/30/2012