Over the past two years in the United States, unemployment rates have generally decreased while wages have increased. In the Hudson Valley, meanwhile, job growth in below-average wage sectors continues to surpass above-average wage sectors in the Hudson Valley.
According to a study by Marist Bureau of Economic Research, Rockland, Putnam, and Westchester Counties rank in the top 10 of New York counties with the highest income disparity. The analysis of the study shows that, despite the increase in jobs, the wage gap in the region has not decreased.
“This is a major issue of concern,” says Christy Huebner Caridi, Director of the Bureau and Assistant Professor of Economics at Marist. “These findings clearly show the need for higher-paying jobs.”
In a 2015 report released by the Bureau of Economic Research, it reported that households which made $75,000 or more earned $6.30 for every dollar that households under $75,000 made. This is a common trend in the region, with Westchester reporting the most inequality.
According to Caridi, the three largest employment sectors in the Hudson Valley are healthcare, retail, and social service. Two of the three sectors, retail and social services, typically provide low-income wages. With that said, there is a growing need for developments in the region to provide higher paying jobs.
This past fall, Marist announced it will partner with HealthQuest to open Marist Health Quest School of Medicine, the first medical school in between Westchester and Albany. The school will bring in about 100 full-time jobs and multiple part-time jobs to the area, many of them serving as professional career opportunities.
“More developments like this are needed for the region to narrow the income gap,” explains Caridi. “The medical school will provide a platform for wage growth within the health care sector and related fields.”