Although national unemployment rates continued to decrease in 2018, companies throughout the Champlain Valley and beyond know there’s still plenty of work to be done.

All 62 counties in New York’s North Country, home to ETS HQ, saw declining numbers for unemployment with no exceptions in Clinton, Essex, and Franklin counties. These 3 counties are all currently below 4 percent — a number often considered “full unemployment”.

In a recent Press Republican interview, our CEO Deb Cleary attributes these changes to the simple law of supply and demand. “In Clinton County, we have a robust manufacturing sector, and as they are growing and the economy is stronger, these products are in more demand. And they need to make more product, so they need more people to do that. It’s kind of just a cascading effect.”

In short, economic confidence for businesses and consumers is historically high, and expectations are strong for the coming year. To set themselves apart in 2019, companies must be proactive and creative about attracting, securing, and retaining the talent they need.


It doesn’t help that, in an employment climate like this, everybody is on the hunt for talent — and not just the hot manufacturers and retailers. As the demand for skilled labor continues to increase, employers seek new avenues for retaining top talent. Many are accomplishing this two-fold, through additional training, to address the skills gap that has long perplexed employers, job seekers, and educators.

“More companies are willing to do some training on their own,” Deb says. “In fact, several of our clients are doing training up at Clinton Community College’s Institute for Advanced Manufacturing.”

Hands-on learning initiatives, like those at the IAM and at CV-TEC, will be a key component when it comes to training the upcoming workforce. Only about 20 to 25 percent of students at Beekmantown high school, for example, have a confident plan for future career development, according to an article from Press Republican, while the other 75 to 80 percent don’t. That being said, our local employers need skilled workers. Likewise, students need to be made aware of the types of job opportunities and pathways that exist here.

ETS is proud to spearhead outreach initiatives that encourage this, both at the college and high school levels. Partnerships between educators and employers will be essential in the coming year as companies strive to remain competitive, and ETS is excited to facilitate this.


Workers want liveable wages and employers want workers they can count on — ones who show up when they’re supposed to and consistently get the job done. As economic confidence increases, employers will lean on trusted local data to inform crucial decisions regarding pay and benefits.

This is why ETS released its first Manufacturing Salary Guide this year, providing the most current data, job descriptions, and hiring trends on more than 200 employers in the North Country. These are the insights employers are asking for as they build strong hiring and retention strategies across manufacturing divisions like Industrial, Warehouse, Engineering, Professional and Administrative.

2019 will be all about building and leveraging connections — something ETS does best. Have questions or concerns as you prepare for the coming year? Touch base with one of our consultants to discuss these trends and others. Chat us anytime by clicking the purple icon in the lower right-hand corner of your browser.