Unemployment up 54% in June from a year ago

Unemployment in the Capital Region was up 54 percent in June from the rate a year earlier.

The unemployment rate for the Capital Region saw a 54 percent increase since June 2008, jumping to 7.4 percent last month as 21,200 jobs were slashed from payrolls, according to the state Department of Labor.

“We saw job losses in just about every industry,” James Ross, Capital Region labor market analyst for the labor department, said today.

The only bright spot was the healthcare industry, which saw an increase of 800 jobs locally year to year, Ross said.

Another industry that has seen growth is in the professional, scientific and technical services, which include research and development facilities like the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory and General Electric’s Global Research Center in Niskayuna, as well as engineering and accounting firms, Ross said.

“As of June, that industry has been flat from last year, but it’s one of our strong industries,” Ross said.

The industries that saw the most significant job losses were government, which lost 2,600 jobs over the year, and construction, which was down 2,200 jobs.

“There hasn’t been a lot change over the last few months, except that things have gotten worse,” Ross said.

Ross said June’s unemployment rate is likely to be the highest the Capital Region has seen since the mid-70s and mid-80s. But since local data only goes back to 1990, the state can’t pinpoint comparisons prior to that period.

New York state’s unemployment rate overall increased to 8.7 percent in June — its highest level since October 1992. But upstate New York’s unemployment rate climbed to a 26-year high of 8.2 percent.

The DOL reported its greatest number of unemployed state residents on record in 33 years in June — 854,200.

“Labor market conditions continued to deteriorate in June 2009 as the number of unemployed New Yorkers reached its highest level since at least 1976. Nonetheless, the state lost jobs at a slower pace than the U.S.,” said Peter A. Neenan, Director of the Division of Research and Statistics for the DOL.

The national unemployment rate in June was 9.5 percent.

Some unemployment rates in the Capital Region for June 2009 and June 2008, according to the state Labor Department.

Albany County: 7.3% in 2009, 4.9% in 2008 — up 49 percent

Rensselaer County: 7.9% in 2009, 5.0% in 2008 — up 58 percent

Saratoga County: 6.7% in 2009, 4.4% in 2008 — up 52 percent

Schenectady County: 7.8% in 2009, 5.0% in 2008— up 56 percent

Schoharie County: 8.7% in 2009, 5.9% in 2008— up 48 percent

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