timeclock-bw-150x150-7441211Private sector employment in New York State grew at barely half the U.S. average rate during the 12 months ending in May, according to the latest monthly jobs report from the state Labor Department.

On a year-to-year basis, firms in New York added a net total of 74,900 jobs—translating into a growth rate of 1 percent, compared to the national average of 1.9 percent.  Employment in the state fell when measured on a month-to-month basis, but roughly half that decline was attributed to the temporary effect of the recently ended Verizon strike. Nonetheless, even excluding the strike’s impact, it appears the state would have continued to trail the national job growth trend, which has been sluggish by historical standards.

As usual, all the net private job growth (and then some) was concentrated in New York City and its suburbs, as shown in the regional breakdown table below.


Among the four largest upstate metro areas, only Buffalo gained jobs—and even there, the growth rate was a paltry 0.6 percent.  Albany-Schenectady-Troy, Syracuse and Rochester all had net declines in the Labor Department estimates. Aside from Ithaca, where employment was flat, the only upstate areas of any size to gain jobs were Utica-Rome (up by just 0.5 percent) and Watertown-Ft. Drum (up 2.5 percent). Rural counties had a very slight increase of 300 jobs, or 0.1 percent.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.7 percent, the lowest since 2007. While that continues a positive trend, unemployment statistics are less valuable as an economic barometer, since the jobless rate can fall when fewer people are looking or available for work.

Another perspective on year-to-year changes in private jobs is provided by the map below, in which counties with no growth or employment declines have the darkest shading.


About the Author

E.J. McMahon

Edmund J. McMahon is Empire Center's founder and a senior fellow.

Read more by E.J. McMahon

You may also like

State budget shaping up as embarrassment of riches—for now

Governor Cuomo's Division of the Budget and the Legislature's fiscal committees have agreed to boost New York's revenue projection by $2.45 billion Read More

Albany’s week that was: drifting into a slow-motion fiscal collapse, February-March 2020

A year ago this week, with the start of the New York State's 2021 fiscal year just over a month away, it became unmistakably clear that the spread of the Wuhan, China, coronavirus was about to clobber the global economy, disrupt public finances and upend Governor Cuomo's original budget calculations. Read More

New York’s Shrinking Budget for Public Health Deserves More Attention

As Medicaid costs spiraled over the past decade, other parts of the state Health Department were losing money and staff—leaving New York with diminished public health resources when the pandemic struck last year. Read More

In budget negotiations, embattled Cuomo is still in the driver’s seat

When it comes to steering the next budget to final adoption by the Legislature, the politically embattled governor is still behind the wheel. Read More

Despite pandemic, state FY21 tax collections continue to exceed Cuomo projections

New York State's tax receipts in January totaled $11.4 billion—outperforming Governor Cuomo's projections for the month by $1.7 billion, or 17 percent, according to the monthly cash report issued late today by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. Read More

What to Expect When the Health Department Complies with the Empire Center’s FOIL Request

Although the state Health has recently revealed significant additional information about the pandemic death toll in New York's nursing homes, it has not fully complied with last week's court order in a Freedom of Information lawsuit brought by the Empire Center. Read More

House Democrats are working on the stimulus bailout of Cuomo’s dreams

The "state and local recovery" piece of the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill now being drafted by House Democrats in Washington would not by itself give Governor Cuomo the $15 billion in added federal aid he's been loudly demanding—but would come very, very close. Read More

Whoopee! NY pension fund investment returns climb to new heights

New York State's main pension fund investment pool earned 10 percent in its third quarter and has gained nearly 30 percent since the end of its 2020 fiscal year, according to state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, the fund's sole trustee. As of December 31 Read More


Sign up to receive updates about Empire Center research, news and events in your email.


Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100
Fax: 518-434-3130
E-Mail: info@empirecenter.org


The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.

Empire Center Logo "Readers will recall that the Empire Center is the think tank that spent months trying to pry Covid data out of Mr. Cuomo’s government, which offered a series of unbelievable excuses for its refusal to disclose...five months after it sued the government, and one week after a state court ruled that the Cuomo administration had violated the law and ordered it to come clean—Team Cuomo finally started coughing up some of the records."   -Wall Street Journal, February 19, 2021