The Index of Economic Activity
in Tompkins County

  Department of Economics
  at Ithaca College



Front Page Historical Data Outlook Archives Methodology


November 2012

The Ithaca College Index of Economic Activity in Tompkins County rose to a level of 158.54 in November from a revised mark of 157.23 in October. This amounts to a gain of 0.83 percent. Significant increases in employment, air traffic, and building permits drove the index higher. Retail sales, home sales, and help wanted advertising showed weakness. Compared to November 2011, overall economic activity was up 3.05 percent.




Tompkins County added 600 jobs in November, bringing total employment to 65,100 on a seasonally adjusted basis. The County economy has not generated jobs as expected in 2012 although the back half of the year has shown improvement.

Retail sales have been disappointing as well. They declined 3.26 percent in November as the holiday shopping season got off to a slow start. Compared to November 2011, retail sales were off 8.09 percent. December sales will have to be spectacular just to have a so-so holiday shopping season.

The number of passengers boarding and deplaning at Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport are estimated to have climbed 10.38 percent higher in November. Compared to November 2011, air traffic was down 0.42 percent.

Residential building permits issued in Tompkins County vaulted 90.62 percent in November. Building permits are an extremely volatile indicator. They are up significantly over last year’s average.

Home sales fell 7.32 percent in November when County realtors sold 65 homes on a seasonally adjusted basis compared to 70 in October. The average sale price was $244,300 compared to $185,800 a year earlier. The median home sold for $186,100 compared to $174,500 a year earlier.

Help wanted advertising declined 6.12 percent in November. Compared to November 2011, help wanted advertising was up 4.50 percent.




(from OCT 2012)


(from NOV 2011)


         0.99 %

         4.18 %

Retail Sales

         3.26 %

         8.09 %

Air Passengers

       10.38 %

         0.42 %

Building Permits

       90.62 %

       94.87 %

Home Sales

         7.32 %

         1.56 %

Help Wanted Advertising

         6.12 %

         4.50 %

Index of Economic Activity

         0.83 %

         3.05 %


With one month of data yet to come the Tompkins County economy is on track to grow 0.50 percent in 2012.

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

Maintained by Elia Kacapyr (
Last updated 01/10/2012