The Index of Economic Activity
in Tompkins County

  Department of Economics
  at Ithaca College



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November 2013

The Ithaca College Index of Economic Activity in Tompkins County advanced to a level of 164.88 in November from a revised mark of 164.53 in October. This amounts to an improvement of 0.22 percent. Gains in employment and retail sales were enough to offset declines in air traffic and home sales. Building permits and help wanted advertising hardly changed. Compared to November 2012, economic activity was up 0.30 percent.




Tompkins County gained 200 jobs in November after seasonal adjustment bringing total employment to 68,400. The employment picture has been stronger than expected in 2013 with the County tacking on 1,000 jobs through November.  Most of those jobs have been created in education and health services, our dominant industry.

County retailers rang up $145.0 million in seasonally adjusted sales in November. That amount is 4.19 percent better than October and 4.31 percent better than November 2012. These figures, however, suggest that the holiday shopping season got off to a slow start. December will have to come in very strong if holiday sales are going to increase 3 percent over last year as expected.

The number of passengers boarding and deplaning at Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport descended 4.86 percent in November. Compared to November 2012, air traffic was down 26.08 percent.

Residential building permits issued in Tompkins County edged down by 6.02 percent in November. Building permits are an extremely volatile indicator and a change of this amount is negligible. For the year, building permits are showing signs of continued strength.

Home sales sagged 13.55 percent in November on a seasonally adjusted basis. Compared to November 2012, home sales were up 1.49 percent. The average and median sale prices fell slightly compared to a year ago.

Help wanted advertising declined 2.90 percent in November. Compared to November 2012, help wanted advertising was up 6.80 percent.




(from OCT 2013)


(from NOV 2012)


         0.07 %

         0.86 %

Retail Sales

         2.61 %

         2.87 %

Air Passengers

         5.54 %

       15.77 %

Building Permits

       52.06 %

         0.02 %

Home Sales

         4.57 %

       12.50 %

Help Wanted Advertising

         2.29 %

         3.25 %

Index of Economic Activity

         0.77 %

         1.15 %


Through November, economic activity in Tompkins County is running 1.4 percent ahead of last year’s pace. Most of this growth can be attributed to more jobs in education and health services.

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

Maintained by Elia Kacapyr (
Last updated 01/13/2014