Capital Region

Albany Metro unemployment rate drops to 4.7%; thousands not seeking work

Roofers work high above Helderberg Avenue in Schenectady replacing shingles and flashing in this file photo.
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Roofers work high above Helderberg Avenue in Schenectady replacing shingles and flashing in this file photo.

ALBANY — The Albany-Schenectady Troy Metropolitan Area had an estimated 4.7% jobless rate in August, the state Department of Labor reported Tuesday.

It was third-lowest among the state’s 15 metro areas, after Ithaca (4.4%) and Glens Falls (4.6%). But the 14 upstate metro areas fell within a relatively narrow range: The highest was Buffalo-Niagara Falls at 5.7%

The outlier was New York City, at 9.8%.

The Albany Metro’s 4.7% unemployment rate in August 2021 compares with 8.0% in August 2020, when the state was still recovering from the COVID shutdown, and 3.6% in August 2019, when the state and nation were enjoying a robust pre-pandemic economy.

The Department of Labor numbers suggest what many employers have already concluded: Thousands of people in the Albany Metro area have dropped out of the labor force since the pandemic arrived in early March 2020, and are neither working nor looking for a job.

The ranks of the unemployed dropped significantly August 2020 to August 2021 — from 36,600 to 21,000.

But the number employed rose only slightly in the same 12 months — from 423,100 to 426,200.

“Unemployed” is defined as not having a job but being able and willing to work, and actively looking for a job. “Employed” is defined as working at least one hour a week.

Categories: Business, News

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