The Index of Economic Activity
in Tompkins County

  Department of Economics
  at Ithaca College



Front Page Historical Data Outlook Archives Methodology


August 2013

The Ithaca College Index of Economic Activity in Tompkins County continued its upward trajectory in August when it rose to a level of 165.55 from a revised mark of 164.92 in July. This amounts to an improvement of 0.38 percent. Gains in air traffic and building permits drove the index higher. Compared to August 2012, economic activity was up 1.96 percent.




Tompkins County gave up 300 jobs in August after seasonal adjustment putting total employment at 68,000. This is an impressive number considering the figure was 67,000 in August 2012. The all-time high for jobs in the County is 68,500 in April 2013.  

Like the jobs number, retail sales fell slightly from July to August in Tompkins County. Unlike the jobs number, retail sales have not made much progress from a year ago.

Air traffic was up 7.89 percent in August compared to July, but down 13.58 percent when compared to August 2012. The number of passengers boarding and deplaning at Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport is leveling off after having climbed for years.

Residential building permits issued in Tompkins County vaulted 62.47 percent in August and permits are up almost 90 percent from a year ago. Building permits are an extremely volatile indicator and changes of these amounts are not unusual. Nevertheless, building permits in Tompkins County are way up in 2013, especially permits for multi-family units.

Home sales remained unchanged from July to August as County realtors sold 78 homes in each month. The average sale price in August was $214,500 compared to $199,400 a year earlier. The median home sold for $190,500 compared to $178,000 a year earlier.

Help wanted advertising inched 3.31 percent higher in August. Compared to August 2012, help wanted advertising was up 8.24 percent.




(from JUL 2012)


(from AUG 2011)


         0.32 %

         1.59 %

Retail Sales

         0.48 %

         0.57 %

Air Passengers

         7.89 %

       13.58 %

Building Permits

       62.47 %

       89.78 %

Home Sales

         0.08 %

       12.38 %

Help Wanted Advertising

         3.31 %

         8.24 %

Index of Economic Activity

         0.38 %

         1.96 %


Through August, job growth in Tompkins County has been robust. At this rate we will add just over 1,000 jobs in 2013. Most of those positions are in education and health services, our bread and butter industry.

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

Maintained by Elia Kacapyr (
Last updated 09/27/2013