From the Times Union and State Department of labor: 5,000 jobs for the taking

Opportunities abound in region, but gap is wide in location, skills, pay

While the state Labor Department reported last week that the five-county Capital Region’s unemployment rate hit an all-time high for December of 7.4 percent, it also wants job seekers to know that nearly 5,000 local openings are listed at its Jobs Express website.

The positions range from groundskeepers to engineers, and TV anchors to pharmacists.

But opportunities aren’t equally distributed. The Albany/Colonie area had nearly half the total, 2,226 openings, while Clifton Park had 142 and the city of Troy just 113.

And the 5,000 openings listed in the eight-county area — Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren and Washington — equal less than an eighth of the more than 41,000 people who were unemployed and looking for work in those counties during December, according to Labor Department figures.

The job bank doesn’t include every opening in the region, however.

This map shows which communities have at least 50 job openings. Niskayuna jobs are included with Schenectady, and Malta jobs with Ballston Spa. Because the East Greenbush-based Regeneron Pharmaceuticals plant has a Rensselaer mailing address, those jobs show up as Rensselaer-based.

Some of the best-paying positions are in Ballston Spa/Malta, Rensselaer and Schenectady… The Rensselaer figure was boosted by the relatively large number of management, engineering and life sciences job openings, while engineering job openings boosted the Ballston Spa/Malta figure.

GlobalFoundries has been expanding in Malta, while Regeneron is undertaking an expansion of its manufacturing plant on the East Greenbush/Rensselaer line.

In Schenectady, meanwhile, engineering, management and computer and mathematical job openings are heavily represented. General Electric Co. opened a new battery plant last year and has been adding jobs at its turbine and generator plant downtown. Its Global Research Center is headquartered in Niskayuna.

Meanwhile, Bolton Landing had by far the lowest average median salary figure among the dozen communities listed.

Openings in the Adirondack resort community were in just two job classifications: food preparation and serving (median annual earnings are $19,140) and building grounds/maintenance (median earnings are $23,720).

The Labor Department’s Jobs Express site has been operating since 2011 and is designed to help job-seekers more quickly locate openings near their home.

Labor Department spokesman Leo Rosales said 65,000 people have found jobs through the service since its debut.

The department is working with University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering on a job fair Saturday, Feb. 2, at which the nanocollege hopes to fill as many as 300 job openings. That event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the school on Fuller Road in Albany. Other job fairs are listed at the Department’s website.

The Times Union, meanwhile, also has a Jobs site in conjunction with that offers more than 1,000 area jobs.

Job openings by area

Most local opportunities are clustered near larger cities, and more rural areas pay less.

City/town Openings salary*
Albany 2,226 $46,196
Ballston Spa 88 $56,171
Bolton Landing 63 $20,958
Clifton Park 142 $40,174
Glens Falls 203 $38,791
Hudson 266 $40,815
Latham 237 $43,192
Queensbury 134 $37,785
Rensselaer 115 $53,239
Saratoga Springs 203 $41,018
Schenectady 400 $51,683
Troy 113 $43,031

* Median salaries for each job category were used to calculate an overall average based on the number of vacancies. Source: New York State Department of Labor