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Report examines New York's unemployment "crisis"

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According to the report, New York State needs to add 512,000 jobs to get back to pre-recession unemployment levels.

A new report out today paints a bleak picture of the state’s workforce.

Researchers found that one in seven New Yorkers is either unemployed, under-employed, or has simply given up looking for work.

That means that even though the national economic recovery officially began more than two years ago, many people here are still waiting for a pay-day.

According to the analysis from the labor-backed Fiscal Policy Institute, the state still needs to add more than half a million jobs to the economy in order to get the unemployment rate back to where it was before the recession began.

James Parrott is the institute’s deputy director and chief economist. He says New York has also fallen far behind the rest of the country when it comes to unemployment insurance, with a maximum weekly benefit of just $405 - a number that hasn’t changed in over a decade.

“The extent to which the unemployment benefit replaces lost wages is lower in New York State than in almost every other state,” says Parrott.

The report calls for more investments in education, public transit and infrastructure, as well as a focus on creating high-skilled jobs that pay well.

Statistics at a glance:

  • The July 2011 unemployment rate for New York State is 8.0 percent, but it would be 9.6 percent if it included all the people who have given up looking for work.
  • Long-term unemployment in New York is at a record level. Half of the unemployed have been without a job for more than six months, and 29 percent have been without work for a year or more.
  • The national recovery has been weak. In previous recoveries, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth averaged at 5.4 percent a year, during the first two years. This time around, growth has been half of that, at just 2.5 percent.
  • It could be worse. New York’s job numbers over the past four years have been better than 40 other states. Among large states, only Massachusetts and Texas have fared better.


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