The Index of Economic Activity
in Tompkins County

  Department of Economics
  at Ithaca College



Front Page Historical Data Outlook Archives Methodology


December 2012

The Ithaca College Index of Economic Activity in Tompkins County fell to a level of 157.96 in December from a revised mark of 160.02 in November. This amounts to a drop of 1.29 percent. Significant decreases in retail sales and home sales drove the index lower. Employment, air traffic, building permits, and help wanted advertising showed little change. Compared to December 2012, overall economic activity was up 2.78 percent.




Tompkins County added 50 jobs in December, 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. The numbers will be revised shortly, but right now they show Tompkins County lost 500 jobs in 2012.

Retail sales have been disappointing as well. They declined 3.22 percent in December. The holiday shopping season was a bust with total sales for November and December 2012 coming in at $293.1 million. That is less than the 2010 holiday season and far under the $320 million that was expected.

The number of passengers boarding and deplaning at Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport is estimated to have dipped 0.88 percent in December. Compared to December 2011, air traffic was down 0.73 percent.

Residential building permits issued in Tompkins County tumbled 29.84 percent in December. Building permits are an extremely volatile indicator. They finished 2012 on a very strong note.

Home sales continued to show weakness by falling 10.84 percent in December. County realtors sold 58 homes on a seasonally adjusted basis compared to 65 in November. The average sale price was $210,100 compared to $183,500 a year earlier. The median home sold for $173,500 compared to $174,800 a year earlier.

Help wanted advertising declined 0.29 percent in December. Compared to December 2011, help wanted advertising was up 1.96 percent.




(from NOV 2012)


(from DEC 2011)


         0.08 %

         4.68 %

Retail Sales

         3.22 %

         6.26 %

Air Passengers

         0.88 %

         0.73 %

Building Permits

       29.84 %

       98.46 %

Home Sales

        10.84 %

        16.95 %

Help Wanted Advertising

         0.29 %

         1.96 %

Index of Economic Activity

         1.29 %

         2.78 %


The figures will be revised going forward, but right now they indicate that the Tompkins County economy grew 0.5% in 2012. The forecast for 2013 calls for 1.0 percent growth.

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

Maintained by Elia Kacapyr (
Last updated 01/31/2012