Capital Region

Albany-area unemployment 3.6% in February

AP Photo/Matt RourkeA "now hiring" sign is posted in this May 10, 2021 file photo.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

A "now hiring" sign is posted in this May 10, 2021 file photo.

ALBANY — Unemployment stood at 3.6% in February across the Albany-Schenectady-Troy metro area, the state Department of Labor reported Tuesday.

At the local level, the area jobless rate was as low as 3.2% in Saratoga County.

February was the 24th month since the onset of the pandemic in New York state, and its impacts continue to ripple through the workforce.

Labor force participation — the number of working-age people working or actively seeking work — continues to lag behind pre-pandemic levels.

Statewide, the labor force totaled 9.95 million people in February 2020 and 9.4 million in February 2022, a decrease of 5.5% that has created or worsened a labor shortage in many areas and industries.

In the five-county Albany metropolitan statistical area, the decrease was smaller — only 2.7% — but employers there had been complaining about the difficulty in attracting job applicants even before the pandemic.

The following list shows local counties’ labor forces in February 2020 and February 2022, and the percentage decrease:

  • Albany: 160,700 | 156,600 (-2.6%)
  • Fulton: 23,200 | 22,300 (-3.9%)
  • Montgomery: 22,800 | 21,800 (-4.4%)
  • Rensselaer: 83,300 | 80,900 (-2.9%)
  • Saratoga: 123,200 | 119,600 (-2.9%)
  • Schenectady: 78,600 | 76,700 (-2.4%)
  • Schoharie: 15,300 | 14,700 (-3.9%)

Also Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Labor reported data showing a significant gap between job openings and job applicants nationwide in February: a seasonally adjusted 11.27 million job openings, 6.69 million hires and 6.09 million job separations.

Within the job separations there were 4.35 million voluntary departures in February, slightly fewer than the record 4.5 million in November but significantly more than the historic monthly average.

The Department of Labor places the labor participation rate at 62.3% in February 2022.

That’s well above the 60.2% recorded in April 2020, when COVID struck in earnest, but still less than the 63.3% in February 2020, and far lower than the 66.8% in February 2002.

Categories: Business, Fulton Montgomery Schoharie, News, Saratoga County, Schenectady County

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