New York State ended 2022 with nearly 105,000 more private-sector payroll jobs than previously estimated, according to updated statistics released today by the state Department of Labor—which also point to a continuing regional imbalance in New York’s post-pandemic employment recovery.

Based on the federally mandated annual “benchmarking” of statistical estimates based on unemployment insurance filings, the Labor Department report says there were 8,278,800 jobs in New York on a seasonally unadjusted basis as of December, which was 104,800 more than estimated by the Department in its January jobs report. The 12-month average came to 8,076,900 last year, 80,950 more than the average from January estimates, and up 5.6 percent from 2021.

New York City alone accounted for more than half that adjustment, with 59,100 more private jobs as of December than previously estimated. Including adjustments to previous employment estimates for Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley, the downstate changes accounted for 82 percent of the total increase in the benchmarked seasonally adjusted data—compared to the region’s 72 percent share of statewide private employment in February 2020, the last month of normal economic activity before the widespread business lockdowns ordered by then-Governor Cuomo once the pandemic hit.

The benchmarked data provide further indication that—at least as measured by private job counts—the pandemic economic hangover has been more severe in upstate than downstate, even though New York City was the epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak in March 2020.

Private employment in January was pegged at 8,063,000—higher than that month in 2018, but still 103,200 jobs below the level in January 2020, two months before the pandemic hit.

Area breakdowns

Private employment in New York in January was up 4.3 percent from the same month in 2022, a higher rate of increase than the rest of the country, which has already moved back above pre-pandemic levels. As shown in the table below, the latest year-to-year growth also has been slower upstate than downstate.

Among the state’s largest areas, Rochester turned in the weakest performance with growth of just 1.2 percent. With an increase of 4.5 percent, Albany-Schenectady-Troy showed the strongest growth of any area outside New York City (+6.2 percent). Other than New York City and Albany-Schenectady-Troy, only Glens Falls and Kingston managed to exceed (slightly) the national private job-creation pace of 3.6 percent.

Unemployment 

Based on a household survey separate from the benchmarked job count, New York’s statewide unemployment rate increased slightly, to 4.2 percent from 4.1 percent the previous month, even as unemployment nationally was dropping to just 3.4 percent. The upstate-downstate difference flips when it comes to the unemployment rate, which rose in New York City while holding steady in the rest of the state, as shown in the Labor Department chart below.

About the Author

E.J. McMahon

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

Read more by E.J. McMahon

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