The Index of Economic Activity
in Tompkins County

  Department of Economics
  at Ithaca College



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February 2013

The Ithaca College Index of Economic Activity in Tompkins County hit an all-time high in February, reaching a mark of 165.61. This means the County economy has grown 65.61 percent since January 1985, the base month of the index. A jump in employment and a modest increase in air traffic drove the index higher in February. Retail sales, home sales, building permits, and help wanted advertising were down.




Tompkins County added 1,200 jobs in February, bringing total employment to 68,200 on a seasonally adjusted basis. There were 1,300 more jobs than in February 2012. Almost all of the job growth is in health and education services with an assist from the leisure and hospitality sector.

After soaring 6.34 percent in January, retail sales gave back 0.33 percent in February. Compared to February 2012, the volume of retail sales was down 0.54 percent.

The number of passengers boarding and deplaning at Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport rose 2.08 percent in February. Compared to February 2012, air traffic was down 13.59 percent.

Residential building permits issued in Tompkins County fell 41.11 percent in February. Building permits are an extremely volatile indicator. They finished 2012 on a very strong note and are having a hard time matching that performance as 2013 begins.

After showing signs of life in January, home sales dipped 9.93 percent in February when County realtors sold 81 homes on a seasonally adjusted basis compared to 90 in January. Realtors are reporting a lack of sellers in the market. The average sale price was $218,100 compared to $149,100 a year earlier. The median home sold for $175,000 compared to $139,000 a year earlier. Compared to February 2012, home sales were down 5.13 percent.

Help wanted advertising slipped 4.06 percent in February. Compared to February 2012, help wanted advertising was up 4.51 percent.




(from JAN 2013)


(from FEB 2012)


         1.85 %

         2.05 %

Retail Sales

         0.33 %

         0.54 %

Air Passengers

         2.08 %

       13.59 %

Building Permits

       41.11 %

       33.33 %

Home Sales

         9.93 %

         5.13 %

Help Wanted Advertising

         4.06 %

         4.51 %

Index of Economic Activity

         0.52 %

         0.73 %


The Tompkins County came out of the gate strong in the first two months of 2013. Stay tuned to see if the encouraging trend continues.

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

Maintained by Elia Kacapyr (
Last updated 04/01/2013