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Buffalo Niagara among 4 state regions with unemployment still above 10%

New York State

The unemployment rate in most of the state’s metro areas in New York dipped below 10% in August for the first time since March, according to preliminary data released Tuesday by the state Department of Labor.

New York City still topped the list among the state’s metro areas, with an unemployment rate of 16.3% last month, but that’s a drop of nearly four points compared to the city’s numbers in July.

When the state Department of Labor released the state’s unemployment rates for July last month, only one metro area had reported an unemployment rate less than 10%. That was Ithaca, where it was 9.9% at the time.

But in August things changed. Every metro area of the state reported a decline in its unemployment rate — even Ithaca, which is now down to 7.2%.

The unemployment rate in the Rochester metro was 9.9%, and while that is more than twice what it was last year at this time, it is a drop from July’s 12.9% rate.

Statewide, the sectors of the economy that are struggling include leisure and hospitality, which saw a drop in employment of nearly 40% compared to a year ago.

All but four of the state’s 15 metro areas have now seen their unemployment rates drop below 10%, according to the data released Tuesday. Only New York City, Long Island, the lower Hudson Valley and Buffalo Niagara still have unemployment rates above 10%.

The statewide unemployment rate, meanwhile, dipped from 15.9% in July to 12.5% in August.

New York’s job market has taken a plunge this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With businesses closed, and a loss in revenue all around, the state has had to process an unprecedented number of unemployment claims.

According to the state Department of Labor, there were more than 1 million fewer people employed in the private sector in August compared to the same time last year. The state gained 96,300 private sector jobs between July and August.

That growth was slower than the previous month. New York added more than 244,000 private sector jobs between June and July, though that was also when the state was starting to reopen certain sectors of the economy that were closed due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Here’s the state’s preliminary unemployment rates for August, according tothe Department of Labor:

Credit New York State Labor Department

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's Director of News and Public Affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.
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