capital region core unemployment 1990-2012 publish

Unemployment rate calculated via figures from (spreadsheet). The recession periods are from the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted. It's also worth noting that the metro area figure the labor department publishes (as in the embedded doc below) includes Schoharie County. The graph above does not -- it includes only data for Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schenectady counties.

Zooming out on Capital Region unemployment

capital region core unemployment 1990-2012

Don't squint. Here's a large-format version.

The state Department of Labor released unemployment data today for areas around the state -- and they were remarkably familiar, in a bad way.

The Albany-Schenectady-Troy metro area's unemployment rate was 8.4 percent in January. That was up from 8.2 percent in January 2012 -- though DOL reported there were about 2,000 more people employed this past January compared to the previous January. (The local area unemployment data isn't seasonally adjusted, so the best comparison is the same month the year before.)

Compared to the rest of the state, the Albany metro isn't doing so badly. It had basically the third lowest rate in the state, behind Ithaca (6.7) and the NYC suburbs/Long Island (7.9). Among the areas at the other end of the spectrum: Elmira (10.5), Glens Falls (10.3), and Utica/Rome (10.2). (The metro and county breakdown is post jump.)

The state's overall unemployment rate was 8.4 percent in January, the same as it was in January 2012. And it was up from 8.2 percent in December. (The statewide rate is seasonally adjusted, so month-to-month comparisons are OK.) The national unemployment rate was 7.9 percent.

A wider perspective
OK, the Albany metro's rate -- 8.4 percent -- seems high. How high? To put it in perspective, we pulled the unemployment data for the Capital Region's four core counties for 1990-2012. Large-format chartage is post jump.

The chart is in large-format above -- scroll all the way up.

Metro and county

NYS Department of Labor Area Unemployment Rates 2013-1 by


While it may be true that "about 2,000 more people are employed now than they were a year ago," it is important to look at what exactly it means to be "employed" in these terms. Many people who have until recently been out of work have taken "jobs" at low-paying, non-benefit, often service sector, temp, or part-time jobs. Don't be fooled by these numbers - more people may technically be "employed," but the reality of the situation is that the availability of *good* jobs is still in the toilet.

Wow, almost 4 years with no change... And they only count those who get unemployment benefits. College kids who can't find a job after graduation are not included.

It appears that, for the Capital Region from January 2012 to January 2013, we saw an increase of 2,000 employed individuals. But we also saw an increase of 1,400 unemployed individuals.

With a total of 37,400 unemployed, those figures don't bode well for currently-unemployed area residents. Especially when a mainstay of area employment -- local and state government and school districts -- are not hiring, and many of the well-paying technology jobs are filled by newcomers to the area.

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