Capital Region

46,912 submit unemployment claims across Capital Region

More than one out of nine area residents employed in February are now jobless amid COVID-19 pandemic
Governor Andrew Cuomo delivers his daily press briefing on COVID-19 at the Capitol April 16, 2020.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Governor Andrew Cuomo delivers his daily press briefing on COVID-19 at the Capitol April 16, 2020.

Categories: Business, News

ALBANY — Across the seven-county Capital Region, 46,912 people filed initial claims for unemployment insurance in the four weeks ending April 11.

That’s roughly one out of nine people who held jobs at the end of February. But the actual number unemployed is higher, perhaps significantly higher — many newly jobless people have been unable to submit claims because state computers are overloaded, and some likely have not even tried.

The data period — March 15 to April 11 — roughly coincides with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s shutdown of significant portions of the state’s economy in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.

As a percentage, the numbers range from bad to very bad at the county level. At the low end, nearly 8% of Albany County residents employed in February have since filed claims; at the high end, nearly 13% have filed in Montgomery County.

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The workforce estimate published monthly by the state Department of Labor is the total number of people employed or unemployed but actively seeking employment.

In Schenectady County, for example, the workforce was estimated at 77,400 in February 2020, the last month for which the state has compiled data. That was 74,300 employed and 3,100 unemployed.

In the four weeks from March 15 through April 11, 8,510 Schenectady County residents filed initial unemployment insurance claims. That equals about 11.5% of those who held jobs in February.

Here are the February employed/unemployed totals and number of unemployment claims in the other Capital Region counties:

  • Albany 154,100/5,900 12,723
  • Fulton 21,600/1,300 2,396
  • Montgomery 21,100/1,400 2,679
  • Rensselaer 79,300/3,400 7,232
  • Saratoga 116,700/4,400 12,249
  • Schoharie 14,100/900 1,123
  • Statewide 9.02M/417K 1.2M

Some other factoids from the unemployment claims data compiled for the week ending April 11:

  • Hardest-hit sectors statewide were the retail, accommodation/food services, construction, health cares/social services and administrative/support service.
  • In upstate New York, the Capital Region had the third-largest year-over-year increase in claims after the Hudson Valley and Western New York. The North Country had the smallest increase in claims.
  • Women submitted 48% of the claims, compared with 40% of the claims in the same week a year ago.
  • Claims were up 1,927% for blacks, 2,904% for whites and 10,210% for Asians vs. a year earlier. (Claims by people of unspecified race were up 3,454%.)
  • The age group most heavily affected was under 25, up 5,810% from a year earlier; age 55 to 64 was least affected, up 2,610%.

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