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Report looks at infrastructure jobs in Rochester area

Less than one-tenth of Rochester’s jobs support its infrastructure, a new report from the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program shows.

Some 42,760, or 9.1 percent, of Rochester metro area jobs are in infrastructure, ranking the region 56th among the nation’s top 100 metropolitan areas. Nationally, some 11 percent of all jobs are within the infrastructure sector.

Infrastructure jobs run the gamut from freight handlers to bus drivers, tractor-trailer drivers and civil engineers. The sector includes 95 occupations in 42 industries, the report states.

The report, The Extent and Impact of U.S. Infrastructure Jobs, is based on 2012 employment data. Some 11 percent of the national workforce holds an infrastructure job.

Nationally, the highest concentration of infrastructure workers are employed as laborers and freight, stock and material movers, the report shows. Some 2.14 million people are employed in the occupation, while 1.56 million are employed as heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers.

Some 5,980 individuals locally are employed as laborers or freight movers, while 3,480 are employed as bus or school drivers. The region has some 3,380 tractor-trailer drivers.

“We have learned through this report that infrastructure is a much more significant factor in a healthy job market than we thought, with more than 14 million workers employed in a large assortment of industries, including utilities, construction and government,” said Joseph Kane, policy/research assistant and co-author of the report.

Infrastructure provides the physical structures needed for services such as water, electricity and waste removal, the report notes, and many infrastructure jobs have low barriers to entry, requiring less formal education. Nationally, just 12 percent of infrastructure workers have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

The Buffalo area ranked 49th among the nation’s top 100 metro areas. Some 47,920 workers in the area are employed in infrastructure jobs, or 9.4 percent. Syracuse ranked 74th, with 31,410 workers, or 11 percent, in the sector.

(c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail rbj@rbj.net.

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