Private sector employment in New York increased by 1.7 percent during the 12 months ending in August, a period in which the number of private jobs in the U.S. as a whole grew by 2 percent, according to the latest monthly report from the state Labor Department.
The growth rate continues to be strongest In New York City, Long Island and in the lower Hudson Valley (+ 2.5 percent) and weakest in the 52-county upstate region (+ 0.8 percent). The only upstate metros with private employment growth above the U.S. average were Kingston, at 2.8 percent, and Glens Falls, at 2.4 percent. Albany-Schenectady-Troy registered year-over-year private job growth of just 1.3 percent, despite continuing expansion in the region’s much-touted (and heavily government-subsidized) tech sector.
Also as usual, some of the slowest 12-month job growth numbers were concentrated in metro regions that would benefit most from the release of state regulations allowing natural gas hyrofracking, including Elmira (+ 0.3 percent) and Binghamton (+ 1.1 percent). Rural upstate New York was essentially flat on its back, gaining jobs at just a 0.2 percent pace.
The state Labor Department’s news release accentuated the positive, focusing on New York’s job creation edge over the U.S. numbers (0.3 percent vs. 0.1 percent) in August alone when measured using the seasonally adjusted monthly change. However, it’s too early to say whether that represents a meaningful and sustained acceleration in New York’s growth rate. The 12-month data are less volatile and more reflective of comparative trends over a longer period.
While New York’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose from 7.5 percent to 7.6 percent — something the state press release chalked up to “the state’s expanding labor force,” the rate for the U.S. as a whole moved in the opposite direction, dropping from 7.4 percent to 7.3 percent.