• Saratoga Business Report
Friday, 22 April 2022 17:42

Labor Shortage Remains Biggest Challenge to Local Economy Featured

Written by Todd Shimkus
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In the first two months of 2022, Saratoga County and Saratoga Springs collected a combined $25 million in sales tax revenues, up 22 percent versus the same time in 2021. While its likely that rising prices due to inflation is a key driver, the reality is that since our economy was reopened in June of 2021 that we’ve seen a willingness of residents, businesses, and visitors to spend money in our local economy. 

Besides sales tax collections, the willingness to spend is confirmed by residential real estate sales in Saratoga County. In January and February, we saw a 9.4% increase in the median sales price of a home in Saratoga County, and a 20.2% increase in the same in Saratoga Springs. 

Talking to local bank executives, I am told that deposit balances remain historically high too. This indicates that people still have money to spend. Lastly, area hoteliers continue to say that visitors looking to return to the Saratoga Race Course, SPAC, Live Nation, and our many other attractions, are willing to pay higher rates to gather here this spring and summer.

That’s the good news. The challenge is that our county’s labor force has shrunk by 3,600 people versus 2020, and our unemployment rate remains very low. When I recently spoke with officials with Live Nation, they asked me to remind everyone that they had 200 jobs to fill. Pretty soon, I suspect NYRA will host their annual job fair as they seek to prepare for the summer. The competition is steep as every sector of our local economy is looking for talent and the pool of applicants is shrinking.

In an effort to help local employers and collectively our local economy, the Chamber just completed a complete overhaul of our Saratoga County Job Zone. This online job board can be accessed at www.saratoga.org, and it includes only local jobs. The updates we made should make it easier for local employers to post jobs and for local job seekers to find them. 

We’re working with area disability services organizations, like AIM Services and Saratoga Bridges, to organize a reverse job fair, on May 3, starting at 2:00 p.m. at the Embassy Suites Hotel. At this event, local companies send representatives who meeting with these and other agencies who support and represent local people who have incredible talents and a willingness to work. Prior to the pandemic, the Chamber hosted two of these type of events with great success for the individuals and participating companies.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Chamber’s Veterans Business Council hosted a job fair for active duty military service people, Veterans, and their spouses at the US Navy’s Field House in Saratoga Springs. More than forty companies participated and met with hundreds of prospects. My fear that no job seekers would show up was completely unfounded thankfully.

Recently, the Chamber hosted a focus group with area human resource professionals from a number of firms represented on our Board of Directors. The goal of that forum was to figure out what types of marketing materials the Chamber could create to help local companies attract talent to relocate and take jobs here in Saratoga County. These professionals told us how they go about convincing people to come to work for their organizations and what information we could provide to help them sell Saratoga County as a great place to live.

Helping local organizations across Saratoga County to find the talent they need to fill local job openings so that they can succeed, grow and thrive is a top priority of the Saratoga County Chamber. Visit our website at www.saratoga.org to learn more or give us a call at 518-584-3255. 

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