Our Economy

Top Industries in the Ithaca Area

These 10 Industries
Drive Our Economy

Like many successful communities, “Eds and Meds” are the predominant industries in Ithaca and Tompkins County. Academic institutions, Cornell University and Ithaca College, and Cayuga Medical Center are not only industry leaders, but major area employers. Their steadiness and stability are the cornerstone of our economy.¬†High tech and manufacturing are key traded sectors, whereas retail, food service and hospitality are important local sectors, fed by a robust tourism industry.

A Closer Look…

Combined, Top 10 industries account for 88.3% of our economy. Nestled among the tech firms are startups and expansions, which attract venture capital from national and international sources and reflect the vitality of a broad range of sectors including biotechnology, electronics, and software. Cutting-edge and alternative enterprises, and just plain good business are enthusiastically received here.


Where We Work

Top 15 Employers

Our Top 15 employers are home to two-fifths of our workforce. Nearly half of them deliver top-tier secondary, post-secondary, and vocational education, after which graduates stay local to refresh and reenergize other top industries and occupations.

List updated 2018

1. Cornell University

2. Ithaca College

3. Ithaca City School District

4. BorgWarner

5. Cayuga Medical Center

6. Tompkins County

7. Franziska Racker Center

8. Wegmans Food Markets

9. Tompkins Cortland Community College

10. William George Agency

11. Maguire Family of Dealerships

12. City of Ithaca

13. Dryden School District

14. Tompkins Financial Corporation

15. Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga BOCES

Get Paid to Do
What You Love

Our Top 10 occupations, arranged by salary, span our leading industries and employers. If you’ve got the goods, you’ll be great here. Mix and match your skills to make it work, and earn a living wage while doing it!

  • 1. Management ($129,000)
  • 2. Educational Instruction & Library ($84,100)
  • 3. Healthcare Practitioners ($82,000)
  • 4. Business & Financial Operations ($72,300)
  • 5. Office & Administrative Support ($45,500)
  • 6. Production ($44,800)
  • 7. Sales ($40,800)
  • 8. Healthcare Support ($36,700)
  • 9. Transportation & Material Moving ($36,200)
  • 10. Food Preparation & Serving ($31,800)

How We Stack Up

Consistently Low Unemployment

Ithaca and Tompkins County constantly outperform federal, state, and regional averages. We weather good times and bad, always a step ahead. And you can take that to the bank.

Hot Jobs and Prospects

In 2020, these occupations had the highest annual increase in online ads. They not only outperformed their groups, they kept Ithaca and Tompkins County churning through a most unusual year. IAED watches trends in ads posted and closed to see who’s moving and shaking, where and when. We also track a whole lot more, making sure we stay nimble and meet the needs of our employers and economy.

  • Home Health and Personal Care Aides, Nursing Assistants, Orderlies, and Psychiatric (53%)
  • Health Technologists and Technicians (32%)
  • Food and Beverage Serving Workers (25%)
  • Healthcare Diagnosing or Treating Practitioners (22%)
  • Material Moving Workers (19%)
  • Retails Sales Workers (11%)