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Numbers indicate NY economy on the mend

WAMC file photo

New numbers indicate economic recovery from the Great Recession is underway upstate - with a few exceptions - for the most part, the latest jobs and unemployment numbers offer hope.  Dan Moran, with career management firm NextAct of Colonie, says the job market has been flat but consistent.

State Labor Department analyst John Nelson said the economy is showing signs of improvement. At 7.4 and 7.7 percent respectively, Albany and Saratoga rank among the counties with the lowest unemployment rates in New York. Tompkins County, at 5.8 percent, was the lowest in the state.

According to a new report from the Marist College Bureau of Economic Research, the Hudson Valley’s labor force has “recaptured” more than 13 percent of its losses since the recession that began in late 2007.

But John Nelson points out that in many areas, unemployment rates continue trending high. Greene County reported one of the highest jobless rates in the region at 10.2 percent. Heading westward, Schoharie County came in slightly higher, at 11.4 percent. Toward Central New York, the rate is 11 percent in Herkimer County, 9.5 percent in Oneida County.

For the 12 months ending in February, unemployment dropped slightly in Columbia, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, and Rockland. It remained the same in Ulster and Sullivan counties, with Sullivan holding the highest rate of joblessness in the Mid-Hudson region at 10.9 percent.
On the downside, some jobs are being lost, with lay-offs of NYS Thruway and Price Chopper employees. The Labor Department's John Nelson notes that the once rock-solid government jobs continue to be unstable.  Dan Moran adds sequestration is adding to the instability - federal cuts in the Capital Region are occurring at the Watervliet Arsenal.  More than 600 workers at the arsenal are looking at a potential two-week furlogh in response to automatic federal budget cuts that went into effect on Friday, March 1st.

The New York State Department of Labor calculates the unemployment rate in part on the results of a telephone survey of 3,100 households out of more than 7 million in the state.

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An earlier version of this story indicated that furloghed federal employees would likely be paid in October. Officially, "It’s not guaranteed. Congress would have to pass legislation granting federal employees the pay they missed while they were furloughed. This is what has happened in the past."

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.