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CNY jobless rates remained higher than a year ago

By Eric Reinhardt (


Region shed thousands of jobs in past 12 months                   

ALBANY, N.Y. — Unemployment rates in the Syracuse, Utica–Rome, Watertown–Fort Drum, Binghamton, Ithaca, and Elmira regions remained in single-digit figures in February but were still significantly higher than a year ago amid the pandemic’s economic impact.

The figures are part of the latest New York State Department of Labor data released March 30.

The Syracuse and Utica–Rome areas lost jobs in five-digit figures between February 2020 and this past February. The Watertown–Fort Drum, Binghamton, Ithaca, and Elmira regions shed jobs in four-digit figures in the same period.

That’s according to the latest monthly employment report that the New York State Department of Labor issued March 25.

Regional unemployment rates

The jobless rate in the Syracuse area was 7.3 percent in February, up from 4.9 percent in February 2020.

The Utica–Rome region’s rate rose to 7.8 percent from 4.9 percent; the Watertown–Fort Drum area’s number hit 7.9 percent, up from 7.3 percent; the Binghamton region’s rate rose to 7.5 percent from 5.5 percent; the Ithaca area’s number hit 5.3 percent, up from 3.6 percent; and the Elmira region’s jobless rate was 7.5 percent in February, up from 4.8 percent in the same month a year ago.

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 seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 8.8 percent in January to 8.9 percent in February, according to preliminary figures released by the New York State Department of Labor. 

The state’s latest unemployment rate was significantly higher than the U.S. unemployment rate of 6.2 percent in February.

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.

February jobs data

On the job-growth or loss front, the Syracuse region shed 26,900 jobs in the past year, a drop of 8.5 percent.

The Utica–Rome metro area lost 10,300 positions, a decrease of 8.1 percent; the Watertown–Fort Drum area shed 2,100 jobs, a drop of 5.3 percent; the Binghamton region lost 8,400 jobs, a decrease of 8.3 percent; the Ithaca area shed 6,700 jobs, a decline of 10.4 percent; and the Elmira region lost 3,400 jobs in the past year, a dip of 9.2 percent.

New York state as a whole lost 1.07 million jobs, a decrease of 11 percent, in that 12-month period. The state economy gained nearly 4,000 jobs in the latest month, from January to February, the Labor Department said.       

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