Capital Region’s Current Unemployment Rate and a Reported Increase in Jobs
The state Department of Labor announced statistics of unemployment rates this past Tuesday.
The Capital Region’s unemployment rate rose to 4.6 percent this past February, staying the same as it was in January but at a slightly higher rate than it was last year at 4.5 percent.
Despite the increase, the capital region still has one of the lowest rates among the state’s metropolitan areas. Ithaca, with a 4.4 percent rate, was lower, and it too saw a 0.1 percentage point increase.
Statewide, the unemployment rate fell to 5.1 percent from 5.3 percent in February 2016, largely due to the improvement in New York City’s rate, which fell to 4.8 percent from 5.6 percent in February 2016.
Jim Ross, a state labor markets analyst, said the Capital Region’s increase was small enough that it could have been due to rounding. “The job numbers are still growing,” he said, pointing to last week’s report that showed an increase in jobs in the Capital Region.
“We’re showing some of the strongest growth year to year” of the state’s metro areas. The Capital Region’s 1.6 percent increase in jobs outperformed New York City’s 1.5 percent, Ross pointed out. It’s “a very strong, very healthy report,” he added.
According to the report, the Capital Region added 7,200 jobs, with 5,800 of them in the private sector, in the past year to February. The retail trade sector added 1,500 jobs over the year, despite jobs being down 1,100 from January as holiday hiring slowed down. Manufacturing, which had been growing, showed a drop of 100 jobs to 25,800.
Professional and business services, meanwhile, gained 700 jobs, increasing to 54,400. The numbers included many technology positions. The leisure and hospitality sector also added 1,400 jobs over the year.
It’s safe to say that the Capital Region’s job growth outpaced that of other upstate cities. Buffalo added 7,000 jobs over the same period, while Syracuse added 3,700 jobs. Rochester, however, lost 1,400 jobs.