New York State added private jobs at a slower pace than the nation as a whole during the 12-month period ending in January, according to data released today by the state Labor Department.
Statewide private employment as of January was up 1.7 percent from a year earlier, compared to 2.1 percent nationally.
Thanks to yet another month of strong job growth in New York City, private employment in the downstate region grew at a faster-than-average 2.5 percent clip. However, the 52 counties categorized as “upstate” by the Labor Department (including Dutchess and Orange, although they are within the downstate Metropolitan Commuter District) created jobs at a much more sluggish pace of just 0.5 percent.
The map at right illustrates a familiar pattern of growth and non-growth by county, with the darkest shadings indicating little or no increase in private-sector employment. The key table from the Labor Department press release is at the end of this post.
Reacting to today’s release, the Cuomo administration naturally sought to accentuate the positive: a continuing decline in the statewide unemployment rate. In line with the national trend, it dropped to 6.8 percent, lowest level since December 2008. But it should be kept in mind that this rate, based on a separate household survey, reflects how many people say they lack jobs as a percentage of the labor force, which is the number of people who say they are available and looking for work. Unemployment rates tend to be highest in the regions with growing labor forces (especially New York City) and lowest in areas that have seen declines in the number of people looking for work (especially upstate).