Work Here

Top Industries in the Ithaca Area

These 10 Industries
Drive Our Economy

Compared to its regional counterparts, Tompkins County has a relatively stable and growing economy which supports approximately 60,000 jobs. “Eds and meds” are the predominant industries. Academic institutions, including Cornell, Ithaca College, and Ithaca City School District, along with Cayuga Medical Center, account for 50% of all jobs; their steadiness is the cornerstone of the economy. Top 10 industries account for nearly 88% of all jobs, and include retail; food, beverage, and hospitality; professional, scientific, and technical services; and manufacturing. Whereas a robust tourism industry feeds local sectors, high-tech and manufacturing are important traded sectors.



Industry Spotlight: Hi-Tech

Innovative ideas, entrepreneurs, and aggregated resources combine to create a dynamic and thriving business community in Tompkins County. Software design, R&D in nanotechnology, biotechnology, and physical and life sciences, and materials testing and analysis require a high degree of education and training. We have all that and then some!

Our graduates are equipped to go almost anywhere, yet many choose to stay locally to access to state-of-the-art tech and the brilliant minds behind it. Still others returned to realize the same opportunities in the novel virtual environment. Harnessing the economic possibility and commercialization potential of the startups and spinoffs associated with higher education is the key to our prosperity.

Since 2019, IAED has invested in 10 hi-tech companies estimated to create 182 new jobs with payroll of over $17 million, retain 305 jobs, and produce nearly $8 million in capital expenditures. Together, we’re looking forward into the future.


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 2021

Get Paid to Do
What You Do

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 skillset 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 hiring, for what and when. We also track a whole lot more, making sure we stay nimble and meet the needs of our employers and economy.

  • Material Moving Workers (213%)
  • Food Prep and Service (200%)
  • Financial Specialists (150%)
  • Engineers (148%)
  • Health Technologists and Technicians (73%)

Working to Live, Living to Work

Live in Ithaca

The idea behind Live in Ithaca is to recruit, retain, and engage a talented and diverse workforce by connecting you to committed local employers and quality career opportunities. Find links to job postings across all industries and localities within Tompkins County. Read stories about locals who reside or returned here to work, and from newcomers and incomers who found that work isn’t hard when it makes you happy.