SCHENECTADY — Schenectady’s unemployment rate stood at 4.3 % in February, down from the 5 percent rate recorded 12 months earlier.
In February, 1,300 residents were unemployed in the city, down 200 from a year prior, according to statistics provided by the New York Department of Labor.
The Capital Region’s unemployment rate of 3.4% was 1.1 percentage points below the state unemployment rate of 4.5 % in February.
Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy said the year-over-year drop in the city’s unemployment rate represented positive news.
“It’s a good general trend where people who are looking for work are finding work here,” he said on Friday. “Also people who are trying to find employees are being able to get them.”
A total of 29,400 residents were employed in the city in February, 600 more than at the same time last year.
McCarthy said that he has heard from business leaders in the city that the availability of the workers has improved.
Labor Department Capital Region market analyst Kevin Alexander said on Friday that Schenectady has made gains in the job market over the last year.
“The drop in February is a positive with the number of unemployed workers and the number of employed workers going up,” he said.
Rotterdam recorded a 3.4% unemployment rate in February, with Saratoga Springs at 3.1% and Glenville at 2.7%.
McCarthy said that while economists may be predicting a national financial slowdown this year, that the trend may not follow in the city.
“We keep watching the national narrative where they keep talking about a slowdown or recession,” he said. “But Schenectady has always had a countercyclical economy from the national economy, where the national economy has gone one direction and sometimes the Schenectady economy has gone in a different direction. We’re cautiously optimistic that we can continue to build on the economic growth and fiscal stability that is in Schenectady.”
The state added 19,100 private sector jobs in March, a 0.2% increase and 0.1 % ahead of the national rate.
“On a monthly basis, one of the driving factors of that is that the state, as well as the Capital district, is still in recovery mode,” Alexander said. “So a lot of the growth is still occurring from those sectors such as leisure, hospitality and health care that were most affected throughout the pandemic. So we’re still recovering a lot of those lost jobs, which has been occurring in recent months.”
According to the Department of Labor, from March 2022 to March 2023, the number of non-farm jobs in the Albany-Schenectady-Troy region increased 3 percent (13,400 jobs), while the number of private sector jobs increased 3.5% (12,400 jobs).
“When you combine Glens Falls with Albany, Schenectady and Troy, the Capital Region has the fastest growth in upstate New York,” Alexander said. “A lot of the growth there was in education, health care and social assistance.”
With the state slightly outpacing the national rate for job gains in March, the Labor Department analyst said that an economic slowdown could affect the state at a slower rate than it would be seen nationally.
“Historically during a recession or downturn, a lot of times it hits different areas at different times based on the cause of the downturn,” Alexander said. “So that’s one of the factors that we’re monitoring — what industries or what conflicts are causing the downturn to see how it will affect the state. Sometimes it happens at a later date than the national recessions or downturns.”
Contact Ted Remsnyder at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @TedRemsnyder.