Area unemployment unchanged in March

The onset of spring failed to pull down the Capital Region’s unemployment rate, indicating weakness

The onset of spring failed to pull down the Capital Region’s unemployment rate, which stood unchanged at 5.1 percent in March, indicating weakness in the local labor market, according to statistics released today by the state Department of Labor.

Unemployment rates

To view statewide and regional unemployment data for March, click here.

The region’s nonfarm work force over the year grew by 600 jobs, or 0.1 percent, to 444,800 in March. But minus public sector gains, job growth was nearly flat. The private sector grew by 100 jobs to 335,700.

The professional, scientific and technical services plus education and health services sectors continued to serve as the region’s engines of grown as the national economy stalls. They contributed a net 2,600 jobs.

March’s unemployment was flat from February but up from 4 percent a year earlier. Traditionally, that rate lowers as employers increase hiring for seasonal positions. The onus of that spring job growth usually falls on retail, construction and tourism.

“That didn’t happen this year. So that would indicate some deterioration in the labor market,” said Labor Department Market Analyst James Ross.

Reflecting weakened consumer spending, the retail trade sector shed 300, or 0.6 percent, jobs over the year. The leisure and hospitality sector showed no growth. The natural construction, mining and construction sector shrunk by 100 jobs, or 0.6 percent.

Categories: Business, News

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