CAPITOL — The Capital Region’s unemployment rate for November was noticeably higher than a year ago, as more people sought jobs.
The state Department of Labor on Wednesday reported 4.3 percent unemployment in the Albany-Schenectady-Troy metropolitan statistical area for November 2017, compared with 4 percent a month earlier and 3.8 percent a year earlier.
The jobless rate in metro areas statewide declined slightly over the same period, from an average of 4.5 percent in November 2016 to 4.4 percent last month.
Skewing the statewide numbers was the New York metropolitan area, the state’s largest, which dropped from 4.7 to 4.0 percent unemployment over the year. The jobless rate in every other metro area in the state increased, even those immediately adjacent to New York City.
The more rural counties, which are not included in any of the state’s 15 metropolitan areas, also saw an increase in unemployment — from an average 5.1 percent in November 2016 to 5.6 percent in November 2017.
The upstate increase in unemployment is due to more people being counted as unemployed because they are actively looking for jobs, said James Ross, Capital Region labor market analyst for the state Department of Labor.
“It’s because of an increase in the size of the workforce,” he said. “I think people are becoming a little more confident about their ability to find a job.”
This shift more typically happens as an economy emerges from a recession, Ross said, but in this case, it’s happening years later.
He credited that to increased awareness of the labor shortage in many parts of upstate New York. The baby boomer generation is starting to retire, he said, and many upstate counties are experiencing stagnant or even negative population growth.
For November 2017, Columbia County (3.6 percent) and Saratoga County (4.0 percent) once again showed some of the lowest unemployment rates in New York.
But four of New York City’s five counties were right at the top of the list: Queens was lowest in the state at 3.5 percent, New York third at 3.6 percent, Richmond fourth at 4 percent and Kings sixth at 4.1 percent. Even the Bronx, a perennial leader in unemployment, was well up from the bottom of the list: number 43, at 5.6 percent.
Reporting the highest November unemployment rate in the state — 9.9 percent — was Hamilton County, where the economy is heavily dependent on summer tourism.
Among metro areas, the jobless rate was highest in Watertown-Fort Drum, at 6.8 percent.
BY THE NUMBERS
County, state and national unemployment rates for November 2017 and November 2016:
|November 2017||November 2016|
|New York state||4.5%||4.5%|