Eight things you need to know about Saratoga County's economy.
8 @ 8 is a newsletter filled with eight things you need to know on topics related to the economy in Saratoga County, New York. You can expect to see 8 @ 8 in your inbox twice a month. If you have content you'd like us to share or have a topic you'd like to see more of, let us know and we'll work to include it in a future edition! - The Saratoga Partnership Team
1. Urgent…Help Wanted…Now!
A recent job fair was held in our region with 110 companies and 4,700 job openings; Fewer than 40 people showed up. Two weeks ago the Great Escape hosted a job fair for 1,500 seasonal job openings; Nine people showed up. This is quickly transitioning from an employment problem to an employment emergency, and it is not unique to Saratoga County. This is a nationwide problem exacerbated by well intended public policies which have strained an already tight workforce. While unemployment was a vital safety net for people during the pandemic, it is time for people to come off unemployment and rejoin the workforce. There is only one problem: When some people are making more money on enhanced unemployment, how do you get them to back to work? Click here for our latest contribution to the Saratoga Business Report. 
2. #MaltaWorks $20.21 Campaign Offered Needed Shot in the Arm to Malta Small Businesses
Last week, the Saratoga Partnership, Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce and Malta Economic Development Committee wrapped up the nine week MaltaWorks $20.21 Promotional Campaign. This effort was possible thanks to a grant awarded to the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership by the Globalfoundries and Town of Malta Foundation. Small businesses got an added boost between March 1 and May 2, and consumers that spend at least $20.21 entered to win weekly gift certificate giveaways and a $500 grand prize. The program helped to drive traffic to small businesses in the Town of Malta that have been fighting to keep their operations open after battling the economic impacts of COVID-19 for the past year. The MaltaWorks $20.21 promotion received over 60,000 impressions on social media, 9 stories in regional media. Over 300 contestants entered, spending over $36,000 at small businesses throughout Malta. Congratulations to our $500 grand prize winner Maureen Fanniff of Saratoga!
3. Saratoga County Looks to Set up Vaccination Pods at Large Scale Employers in County
Saratoga County is getting creative to continue vaccinating residents and help employers meet vaccination goals. If you are an employer in Saratoga County interested in having vaccines administered to employees onsite, contact Supervisor Tara N. Gaston, Chair of the Saratoga County Health & Social Services committee at tngaston@saratogacountyny.gov or 518-934-1944 to get information about what is available for your business!
4. JDA Loan Fund for Saratoga County Agribusinesses
Agriculture is a major economic driver for New York State (NYS) – with 7 million acres of farmland and nearly 36,000 family farms producing some of the world’s best food. The JDA Agriculture Loan Fund strives to help alleviate the economic barriers faced by many small NYS agribusiness owners that include: value-added processors, food distributors, food aggregators, beverage producers and Food Hub participants, looking to grow and expand. Click here to learn more about this new loan program offered for Saratoga County Agribusinesses.
5. Saratoga County Stands Out as Fastest Growing County in NYS in New Census Estimates
The Empire Center reported that the 2020 Census estimates indicate that only three of New York’s 50 upstate counties gained population during the previous 10 years, and Saratoga County stands out as the fastest growing County in the State with a net increase of 4.9% of the population followed by Rockland (4.7%) and Orange (3.3%). Nearly every other county in the state experienced net outmigration. The net outflow of New Yorkers to other states reached its highest point in 14 years during the 12-month period ending in mid-2020, just past the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, the Empire Center reported that the Towns of Ballston and Halfmoon were the fastest growing in the State of New York. Sixth place on the statewide percentage-growth list, meanwhile, went to the town of Malta, which is estimated to have grown 9.6 percent, from 14,765 to 16,179. Nearby Stillwater was ranked 11th, having grown 7.8 percent with a population estimated at 8,932.
6. U.S. Jobs Report - Job Growth Slowed in April, Muddling Expectations
The New York Times reports that the American jobs machine tottered last month, confounding optimistic forecasts of the labor market’s recovery and sharpening debates over the impact of federal pandemic-related jobless benefits on the nation’s work force. Employers added 266,000 jobs in April, the government reported Friday, far below the gains registered in March. The jobless rate rose slightly, to 6.1 percent, as the labor force grew faster than the number of jobs. Most notably, the manufacturing sector lost 18,000 jobs even though consumer demand for goods has been strong. The Alliance for American Manufacturing blamed supply chain problems, noting that “drops in automotive sector employment are almost entirely due to semiconductor shortages.” Click here to read more.
7. IBM makes another major chip breakthrough at Albany R+D Center
Last week, IBM is making public yet another major breakthrough – the creation of the first working 2nm chip – with 50 billion transistors crammed onto a silicon chip the size of a fingernail. And this cutting-edge device was made right here in our backyard. It's another celebrated milestone not only for New York-based IBM but also for the Capital Region and its reputation as a premier hub for computer chip research and manufacturing. The timing couldn't be more promising for New York state, which is currently in the running to attract not only a second computer chip factory at GlobalFoundries' Fab 8 campus in Saratoga County but potentially two more factories, or fabs, being planned by Intel and Samsung, both of which partner with IBM on chip research in Albany. Click here to read more from the Times Union.
8. Infrastructure Upgrades Vital to U.S. Economy
A mediocre grade for U.S. infrastructure indicates there’s much work to be done to bring it up to the safe, sustainable level vitally needed for the supply chain and economic growth. Area Development reports that it has been well-documented across the United States that years of neglect have resulted in roads and bridges in dire need of repair, outdated public transportation, subpar Internet service, and other critical infrastructure needs. In its most recent report card on the condition of America’s infrastructure, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave U.S. infrastructure a mediocre grade of C-. The engineers estimate it would cost $5.9 trillion over the next decade to bring roads, bridges, and airports to a safe and sustainable level. That’s about $2.6 trillion more than what government and the private sector already spend. Ryan Severino, chief economist with JLL, said Biden’s bill “pointedly aims to improve aspects of infrastructure vital to the performance of the economy including tunnels, ports, rail, airports, water systems, the electrical grid, and high-speed broadband. Less conventionally, it also aims to improve the quality of buildings, including commercial real estate, upgrade the U.S. supply chain, invest in research and development, and provide job training for workers.” Click here to read more from Area Development. How does infrastructure upgrades impact us locally? We know that GLOBALFOUNDRIES expansion will require systems infrastructure upgrades like water, power and natural gas. We have seen the positive economic impacts in the past. Expect more regional benefits, high paying jobs and billions in new investment if the project moves forward. Read more from the Times Union.