Thursday, September 15, 2011

Unemployment rises as city's recovery stalls

The city's jobless rate rose in August.
The jobless rate ticked up in August, according to data released Thursday by the state. The city's economy was recovering faster than the nation's, but now it's losing steam—and the nation's is catching up. 

By Daniel Massey

The city's unemployment rate in August ticked up to 8.7% from July's 8.6% as the local recovery continued to lose steam, the state Department of Labor reported Thursday.

The one-month rise itself was not a significant increase, but after the city's jobless rate fell every month for nearly a year starting in spring 2010, there have now been six consecutive months without a noticeable decline. Most of the drop in the rate from its 10% peak has come not from job gains but from discouraged job seekers leaving the workforce.

“The month-to-month uptick isn't huge, but the unemployment rate has been treading water for six months now,” said James Brown, principal economist at the Department of Labor. “That's not what you want to see. In a recovery, you'd expect it to trend downward.”

New York state's unemployment rate remained unchanged in August, at 8%, while the nation's held steady at 9.1%.

The city, which had outpaced the nation in job growth throughout much of the recovery, has now come back to the pack. Its over-the-year private-sector growth rate in August was 1.4%, versus a 1.6% rate nationally. The bulk of the growth has come in two sectors: education and health care, and professional and business services, which together added more than 45,000 jobs over the 12 months ending in August.

“The rate of growth is flattening,” Mr. Brown said. He attributed the nation's stronger showing to recent strength in the automobile, manufacturing and export sectors, areas that are not drivers of the city economy. Plus, the nation had lost more jobs and thus had more catching-up to do.

The city has added 99,100 jobs, a gain of 2.7%, since its economy bottomed out in September 2009, while the nation has added 1.9 million jobs, a 1.5% increase, since its nadir in February of 2010, according to an analysis by real estate services firm Eastern Consolidated.

The city is 27,500 private-sector jobs, or 1.1%, short of its April 2008 peak, while the nation is 5% below its peak in January 2008.

The city lost 8,400 jobs in August, due primarily to the strike at Verizon that temporarily erased 8,700 jobs, the Eastern Consolidated analysis shows. Those workers have returned to work while the Communications Workers of America continues to negotiate a contract with the company.

Other sectors that lost jobs in August include retail trade, which shed 3,400, and health services, which lost 1,700. Despite its strength over the year, losses in health services have been consistent since February when Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his Medicaid-reduction package would lead to more downsizing and facility closures, said Barbara Byrne Denham, chief economist at Eastern Consolidated.

The securities industry, commercial banking and insurance each lost 100 jobs last month, while real estate lost 500. For the year, Wall Street has now shed 1,100 jobs.

The main bright spot in the August report came in construction, which added 2,200 jobs. Ms. Byrne Denham said the bump came from 10 new office buildings that are planned, as well as several hotels and multi-family residential buildings under construction.

Employment services added 1,000 positions, typically a positive sign that employers are on the cusp of hiring permanent workers.


  1. not to worry - after Doug & Frank get done fucking around with more of their criminal racketeering under the watchful eye of that corrupt sack of shit judge he hired & finish screwing you with the phony contract negotiations & more Pla's on all jobs 21 floors & higher, the Billionaire developer class will come to the rescue with all the work they have been sitting on while they break all the trades & laugh all the way to their offshore Bank on that fancy new Jet you just purchased for them, then it's off to the 400 ft. yacht with some high priced ho's.

    Life is good

  2. Nationally, the economy seems to be improving. Unemployment claims just hit the lowest level since 2008. Plus, shoppers seem to be spending more this holiday season and feeling better about the economy.

    buying a home Essex County


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