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Area jobless rates dip in December as half of CNY regions gain jobs

By Eric Reinhardt


Unemployment rates in the Syracuse, Utica–Rome, Watertown–Fort Drum, Binghamton, Ithaca, and Elmira regions declined in December compared to a year ago.

The figures are part of the latest New York State Department of Labor data released Jan. 23.

The Syracuse, Utica–Rome, and Ithaca regions gained jobs between December 2017 and this past December.

At the same time, the Binghamton, Watertown–Fort Drum, and Elmira areas lost jobs in the same period.

That’s according to the latest monthly employment report that the New York State Department of Labor issued Jan. 17.

Regional unemployment rates

The jobless rate in the Syracuse area was 4.0 percent in December, down from 5.2 percent in December 2017.

The Utica–Rome region’s unemployment was 4.3 percent, down from 5.5 percent; the Watertown–Fort Drum area’s rate was 5.6 percent, down from 7.3 percent; the Binghamton region’s rate fell to 4.3 percent from 5.5 percent; the Ithaca area’s rate was 3.0 percent, down from 4.0 percent; and the Elmira region jobless rate fell to 4.0 percent from 5.5 percent in the year-earlier period.

The local-unemployment data isn’t seasonally adjusted, meaning the figures don’t reflect seasonal influences such as holiday hires.

The unemployment rates are calculated following procedures prescribed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the state Labor Department said.

State unemployment rate

New York state’s unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.9 in December, “remaining at its lowest level on record (current records date back to 1976),” according to preliminary figures from the state Labor Department.

In addition, the number of unemployed New Yorkers fell in December from 379,400 to 378,500, “its lowest level since August 1988.” At the same time, New York’s labor force grew by 24,400 to 9,781,500, “a new high for the state.”

The 3.9 percent unemployment rate was equal to the U.S. unemployment rate of 3.9 percent in December.

The December statewide unemployment was down from 4.7 percent a year prior, according to department figures.

The federal government calculates New York’s unemployment rate partly based upon the results of a monthly telephone survey of 3,100 state households that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics conducts.

December jobs data

The Syracuse region gained 3,500 jobs in the past year, a 1.1 percent increase.

The Utica–Rome area picked up 

700 jobs, a rise of 0.5 percent; the Watertown–Fort Drum region lost 100 jobs, a 0.2 percent decline; the Ithaca area gained 2,200 positions, an increase of 3.3 percent; the Elmira region shed 500 jobs, a dip of 1.3 percent; and the Binghamton area lost 100 jobs in the past year, off 0.1 percent, per the NYSDOL data.

New York state as a whole gained more than 123,000 jobs, an increase of 1.3 percent, in that 12-month period. The state economy gained nearly 12,000 jobs, a 0.1 percent increase, between November and December, the state Labor Department said.   

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