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Albany wins unemployment rate race in January, Binghamton loses

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Just barely.

Unemployment numbers were released yesterday and while a number of upstate areas saw improvements, it's clear the dent left by the recession hasn't yet been filled in.  Statewide, unemployment was 9 percent, compared to a national unemployment rate of 9.8 percent.


The Binghamton area has the worst showing, reports My-Ly Nguyen at the Press & Sun-Bulletin, with a rate of 9.6 percent in January:

"We've experienced significant job losses, and it's taking us a little extra time, as has generally been the case in the last two to three recessions, in coming around," [Glendale Technology Park economist Christian] Harris said. "More than likely, we're going to push to the positive, in comparison to year-ago levels, in February ... as all our job losses cycle through." The region's private sector had 81,700 jobs in January, a decrease of 200, or 0.2 percent, versus the same time a year ago, according to the department. Manufacturing jobs totaled 14,300 in January, also down 200, or 1.4 percent.


Unemployment in Syracuse was 9.3 percent, a slight gain over January 2010 unemployment (at 9.6 percent), reports Rick Moriarty at the Post-Standard.  The good new came largely courtesy of two industries:

The Syracuse metropolitan area — which consists of Madison, Onondaga and Oswego counties — had an estimated 2,300 more jobs in January than it did in the same month last year. All of the increase came from the private sector, as government lost 200 jobs. But the gains have not been across the board. The education and health services sector was the biggest gainer, expanding by 2,300 jobs. Leisure and hospitality also did well, gaining 600 jobs. But manufacturing hit an all-time low, losing another 800 jobs.


Buffalo was at 9.1 percent, a gain over the previous January, but a drop from December (same as most regions - unemployment is less severe in December because of seasonal hiring).  David Robinson at the Buffalo News reports:

The Buffalo Niagara region added jobs for the fifth straight month during January - a sign that the local labor market is slowly beginning to rebound, the state Labor Department reported today. The region has added 2,100 jobs over the last year, a 0.4 percent increase from January 2010, fueled largely by hiring at local stores and restaurants.


In Rochester Matt Daneman reports at the Democrat and Chronicle that unemployment was 8.7 percent:

In January, 479,100 people had jobs in the Rochester area, down more than 3,000 from a month earlier, while 45,400 were out of work and looking, up more than 4,000 from a month earlier. Those declines in employment are in line with what usually happens in January as retailers cut their holiday shopping season help, construction employment is at its lowest levels during the winter months, and food manufacturing also is slow, [Labor Department economist Tammy] Marino said. Now, the good news. January marked the fourth consecutive month in which the numbers of people out of work and looking for jobs were smaller than they were one year earlier. In January 2010, the number of unemployed people in the area work force was 48,200 and the unemployment rate was 9.2 percent.


And the winner of the unemployment rate race among Innovation Trail cities is Albany, which had a rate of 8.2 percent.  But from how Chris Churchill tells it at the Times Union, Albany doesn't know how lucky it is!

That’s nearly the same as the rate of 8.3 percent reported for the same month a year ago — showing that joblessness remains a stubborn problem, despite what has been described as a generally improving economy. In fact, the number of employed people in the region declined significantly during the course of the year, from 411,600 a year ago to 403,100 in January.

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