State and local governments employ nearly a quarter of the Albany area workforce, a phenomenon that has brought long-term stability to the economy. A network of service industries, especially restaurants and food stores, law firms, and related businesses, has grown up in Albany to serve the needs of government. Area colleges and universities and an extensive healthcare network also play a dominant role in the city’s economy. The presence of scientific research facilities has stimulated the growth of the high technology industries that are replacing traditional manufacturing industries. The growth of High Technology research and technology related industries have given the region surrounding the City of Albany the name Tech-Valley.

Technology has, in fact, been targeted as a prime growth industry for Albany and the Tech-Valley. Albany NanoTech, a university-based research facility for nanotechnology that opened in 2003, received a large portion of the $1.4 billion that the state of New York committed toward the establishment of research centers throughout New York. In a deal that was named one of the top economic development projects of 2002 by Site Selection magazine, Albany successfully attracted a new branch research center of Austin-based International Sematech. Later, Tokyo Electron Ltd., one of the world’s leading makers of computer chip manufacturing equipment, decided to send researchers to Albany instead of its North American headquarters in Austin, Texas. New York City-based International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) followed suit, moving researchers to Albany.  In the past 10 years, economic development efforts have brought more than $9 billion of investment to the City of Albany and the Tech-Valley Region.  The City’s healthcare and educational institutions are investing and expanding in unprecedented ways thanks to this regional boom.

Besides its new technology based businesses, Albany is also home to a number of manufacturers, producing such items as felt products, sporting goods, and beer, but major manufacturing is represented by national companies with divisions located throughout the region, including General Electric Company’s plastics operation in Selkirk and its silicon plant in Waterford. The sectors of finance, insurance, and real estate enjoy a strong presence in Albany, which is one of the nation’s largest banking cities. As the focal point of a six-county greater metropolitan area that encompasses prime East Coast recreational areas, Albany is also affected economically by the tourists who flock to the region each year.

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