State unemployment rate at lowest level in four years

washington dollar bill green shadeThe unemployment rate in New York State was 7.6 percent in May -- the lowest mark since February 2009, according to the state Department of Labor.

From May 2012 to May 2013 the state added 104,200 private sector jobs -- but that was blunted a bit by the loss of 18,500 public sector jobs (14,400 at the local level). During that same period, the Albany-Schenectady-Troy metro added 2,200 private sector jobs -- but lost 600 public sector jobs.

Statewide, the major industry sector that added the most jobs over the last year was "professional and business services" (up 40,400) -- the bulk of that gain was in "administrative and support services" (+24,600) and "professional, scientific and technical services" (+16,500). Next up: leisure and hospitality (+26,300). Interesting bit: of those leisure and hospitality jobs, 16,100 jobs were at "limited service eating places." (The effect of those multiplying Chipotles and Panerae?)

After the public sector, the industry to lose the most jobs statewide over the last year: manufacturing, down 13,300.

There were about 730k unemployed people in New York in May.

Comments

Let's take those numbers with a heaping tablespoon of salt, as "unemployment" only counts those who looked for a job in the past six weeks but couldn't find one.

A fuller picture can be painted when we include discouraged workers (those who have stopped looking; the NYT documented this trend as far back as 2003) and the underemployed (those who want more work but can't get it). I bet the 7.6% shoots to near 20% or higher when those are factored in, as they shot to 23% on the national level for the 1st quarter of 2013.

In short, don't believe the hype.

..If you factor in all the "hidden unemployment" - parents who decide to stay at home raising kids rather than looking for work, students who stay in graduate school for an extra year or people who simply ran out of unemployment benefits the situation is far from rosy.
I saw some data that rush hour traffic in major metropolitan area dropped 18% since 2007 and think it can be a good estimate of unemployment rate increase.

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