Capital Region jobless rate drops to 2.7% in May

People walk through a job fair in Latham.
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People walk through a job fair in Latham.

ALBANY — The Albany metro area in May had its second-lowest jobless rate in a third of a century — 2.7%, the same as in April and right behind the record-low 2.6% unemployment rate recorded in December.

The state Department of Labor on Wednesday released the preliminary labor force figures for the state and its counties and regions.

The state as a whole was down to 4.1% unemployment in May 2022, much lower than the 7.0% rate of May 2021 but not quite as low as the 3.5% rate in May 2019, before the pandemic led to widespread business disruptions in the spring of 2020.

The 16.5% statewide unemployment rate in May 2020 was the highest recorded in the current state database, which stretches back to January 1990.

In the Albany-Schenectady-Troy Metropolitan Statistical Area, 446,500 people were classified as employed and 12,400 as unemployed but actively seeking employment in May 2022, for a total labor force of 458,900.

That compares with a labor force that reached a pre-pandemic peak for the month of May of 458,000 in 2018, suggesting that the labor non-participation rate — the number of people able to work but not working by choice or due to circumstance — has decreased.

Consumer prices are sharply higher in 2022 and some wages are up significantly as well, which likely increases the need and/or the incentive for some people to re-enter the workforce.

The metro area with the lowest jobless rate in New York in May 2022 was Ithaca, at 2.4%. The Capital Region was tied with Long Island for second-lowest at 2.7%. New York City was highest at 5.7%

Saratoga County had the lowest unemployment rate of any county in the state in May 2022, at 2.3%. Bronx County was highest at 8%.

Preliminary county unemployment rates in and near the Capital Region included:

  • Albany 2.8%
  • Fulton 3.6%
  • Montgomery 3.7%
  • Rensselaer 2.7%
  • Saratoga 2.3%
  • Schenectady 3.1%
  • Schoharie 2.9%

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