Area jobless rate at 5-year low

Figure drops below 6 percent

Tuesday, December 24, 2013
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— The Capital Region’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.6 percent last month, marking the first time in five years that the area’s unemployment rate has been below 6 percent.

The Albany-Schenectady-Troy metropolitan area — which consists of Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady and Schoharie counties — now has the lowest unemployment rate among upstate New York metro areas, behind the town of Ithaca at 4.4 percent. The last time the region’s rate was below 6 percent was in November 2008.

The Capital Region rate fell more than a full percentage point from 6.8 percent one year earlier, according to preliminary figures released Tuesday by the state Labor Department. It was down from 6 percent just one month earlier in October.

Saratoga County had the fourth lowest unemployment rate in the state at 5.2 percent, down from 5.5 percent in October and 6.3 percent one year earlier.

Albany County’s unemployment rate came in at 5.5 percent in November, down from 6.1 percent one month earlier and 6.7 percent one year earlier.

Rensselaer County’s unemployment rate was 5.7 percent in November, down from 6.2 percent one month earlier and 7 percent one year earlier.

Schenectady County’s unemployment rate was 6 percent in November, down from 6.5 percent in October and 7.3 percent in November 2012.

Schoharie County had the highest rate in the Capital Region metro area at 7.1 percent, up from 6.5 percent in October but down from 7.9 percent one year earlier.

Two nearby counties outside the metro area — Fulton and Montgomery counties — had an unemployment rate of 7.8 percent last month. In Fulton County, this was a drop from 8.1 percent in October and 9.7 percent in November 2012. In Montgomery County, this was a drop from 8.2 percent in October and 9.3 percent in November 2012.

Unemployment rates are based on a telephone survey of 3,100 households across the state. Someone is considered unemployed if he or she was not employed at the time of the survey but had been looking for work in at least the previous four weeks.

The state Labor Department’s Division of Research and Statistics reported job figures last week that showed that the Capital Region gained a net 1,300 jobs from October to November and a net 2,300 jobs in the 12 months leading up to November. Most of the job gains were in the education and health services sectors. Most of the job losses were in professional and business services.

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