The growing high-tech sector is helping narrow the gap between the number of people moving in and moving out of the Capital Region.
There are still more moving vans and trucks heading to other states than there are pulling in—Florida is the top destination—but a shift is under way.
Moving companies point to the high-tech sector, where jobs are being added, as the reason.
“It’s Albany NanoTech, GlobalFoundries, RPI, General Electric ,” said Tom Tama, vice president at Liedkie Moving & Storage in Rotterdam. “Those kinds of businesses that have an influx of skilled employees.”
GE alone has relocated 1,165 people into the area over the past three years, said Christine Horne, spokeswoman.
Mabey’s Moving & Storage Inc. in Rensselaer just received a handful of shipments from Austin, Texas, that are for people working in local high-tech jobs.
“Mabey’s is currently handling some of these relocations and is ready to handle many more,” said George Derbyshire, sales manager.
The gradual change in inbound versus outbound is evident in statistics compiled by the American Moving & Storage Association, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group that tracks nine major van lines.
There were 1,370 inbound shipments to the Albany-Schenectady-Troy metro area last year, compared with 1,224 inbound shipments in 2007. One shipment is equivalent to one customer.
The increase was not steady. Inbound shipments fell to 971 in 2009 as activity slowed across the board during the recession, but rebounded last year.
Outbound shipments, meanwhile, have fallen over the past four years, from 1,934 in 2007 to 1,601 last year, according to the Moving & Storage Association.
As a result, the gap between inbound and outbound moves to the Capital Region got smaller.
The same dynamic is playing out in the state as a whole, though the percentage difference between inbound and outbound shipments is greater for New York than in the Capital Region alone.
There are two forces pulling against each other in terms of migration patterns. New technology jobs are attracting a younger, high-skilled workforce to the area.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the graying population means more people will be retiring and looking to move to a warmer climate. State and local government cutbacks will force many to look elsewhere, possibly out of state, for jobs.
Given those trends, Rocco Ferraro of the Capital District Regional Planning Commission said it is hard to predict whether the number of inbound moves will increase enough to exceed the number of outbound moves.
“We still do not know what impact the investments in nanotechnology will have on future in-migration to the Capital Region,” Ferraro said. “When we look at the manufacturing aspect, we’ve been told most jobs could be filled by the internal workforce. However, in terms of the research part, certainly that offers a lot of opportunities.”
The decline in outbound moves over the past few years may be due to retirees deciding not to move south or buy a winter home because their 401(k) accounts suffered during the recession, Ferraro said.
People move for all sorts of reasons, of course, not just to take new jobs or escape harsh winter weather.
Nationally, the U.S. military is the largest single customer of moving companies, with 150,000 interstate moves and another 275,000 international and local moves, according to the AM&SA.
The movement of military personnel may explain why more shipments arrived in the Capital Region from South Carolina last year than any other state (nearly 14 percent of the total; Texas was No. 2). There are eight military bases in South Carolina.
Some military personnel move here to work or train at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory.
Liedkie Moving & Storage Featured on National Program,
Extreme Makeover, Home Edition
Liedkie Moving & Storage in Schenectady, New York donated their time and services during a recent home makeover to benefit Debbie Oatman and her family. In 1987, Debbie became a very untraditional single mother when she adopted an HIV positive baby. Together they faced an unsympathetic community, discrimination and even death threats. Yet, when she learned that another HIV positive child and his biological brother needed a home, Debbie didn’t hesitate to bring them into her family. Over the years, through her activism, the community has come to embrace Debbie and her boys. Unfortunately, their home was literally sinking into the ground, causing the walls to shift and crack and creating a death trip to Debbie’s sons’ delicate immune systems. With nowhere else to turn, Debbie contacted Extreme Makeover, Home Edition with a desperate plea to help give her family a safe home and keep her sons from becoming just another statistic.
The episode, “Oatman – Gaitan Family,” aired May 20th, 7:00 p.m. ET during their two hour season finale. Congratulations to Kim Ramsey and Tom Tama and the team at Liedkie for making this family’s dreams a reality!