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Capital Region jobless rate hits 5% in January

Capital Region jobless rate hits 5% in January

Area remains among better job markets in state

ALBANY — The Capital Region unemployment rate hit 5 percent in January, a small increase from 4.9 percent in January 2017.

The state Department of Labor announced statewide January employment statistics Tuesday, and the Albany-Schenectady-Troy Metropolitan Statistical Area again showed one of the stronger job markets upstate. The jobless rate in other metro areas ranged from 4.6 percent in New York City to 8.4 percent in Watertown.

A lot of the best statistics came from downstate: Four of the five counties with the lowest unemployment in January 2018 were boroughs of New York City; neighboring Nassau County was the fifth.

The average unemployment rate for all metro areas in the state was 5 percent, down from 5.1 percent in January 2017. The average for rural counties outside metropolitan statistical areas was 7 percent, up from 6.9 percent.

The unemployment rate for the state as a whole was 5.1 percent in January 2018, down from 5.2 percent in January 2017, and the unemployment rate for the nation was 4.5 percent, down from 5.1 percent.

The January 2018 jobless numbers are sharply higher than December 2017 (5 percent vs. 4.2 percent in the Capital Region) because of the seasonal nature of some jobs.

“You don’t want to compare January to December,” said James Ross, Capital Region labor market analyst for the state Department of Labor. “You get all those [holiday] retail jobs and a lot of construction jobs that were let go because of the weather.”

Meanwhile, the Albany-Schenectady-Troy area was the state leader in per-capita private-sector employment growth from January 2017 to January 2018, accounting for 7,400 of the 91,600 private-sector jobs created in the state during that period. Ten times as many were added in New York City, but as a percentage, the Capital Region edged out the big city, 2.1 percent to 2 percent.

The data set and methodology for job counts and employment counts are different, and the two statistics do not move in unison.


The following unemployment rates were reported for counties in and around the Capital Region for January 2018 and January 2017:

  • Albany 4.7% 4.6%
  • Fulton 7.4% 6.9%
  • Montgomery 7.5% 7.0%
  • Rensselaer 5.2% 5.3%
  • Saratoga 4.7% 4.8%
  • Schenectady 5.2% 4.9%
  • Schoharie 7.7% 7.2%
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