ALBANY — Across the seven-county Capital Region, 84,036 people have filed for unemployment insurance since mid-March, when Gov. Andrew Cuomo shut down large parts of the state’s economy amid the worsening COVID-19 crisis.
That’s 17.5% of the 480,800 people whom the state Department of Labor tallied as employed in the seven counties in January.
These counties had unemployment rates of 4% to 6% in January.
The Department of Labor released data Thursday tallying unemployment claims filed in individual counties from mid-March (when the COVID-19 crisis began to grip New York in earnest) through May 16.
Here is a breakdown of Capital Region counties, with estimated number employed in January, number of jobless claims since March 15, and number of claims as a percentage of number employed in January:
- Albany 153,800 23,263 15.1%
- Fulton 21,700 4,353 20.1%
- Montgomery 21,400 4,760 22.2%
- Rensselaer 79,100 12,897 16.3%
- Saratoga 116,500 21,141 18.1%
- Schenectady 74,100 15,573 21.0%
- Schoharie 14,200 2,049 14.3%
- N.Y. State 9.14M 2.27M 24.9%
Five of these seven counties and the state as a whole saw an increase in claims filed the week ended May 16 over the week ending May 9.
Also, uncounted thousands of Capital Region residents are unemployed now but not counted in the totals, as they either didn’t file for unemployment benefits or attempted to file but were unsuccessful.
The Department of Labor said the rise in unemployment in April 2020 was the state’s largest single-month increase since the current record-keeping system was adopted in 1976.
The employment sectors generating the most unemployment claims since mid-March are:
- Accommodations/food service, 379,502
- Retail trade, 276,650
- Health care/social assistance 248,127
- Administrative/support services 185,613
- Construction/utilities 177,058
The Department of Labor announced Wednesday that more than $10 billion in unemployment benefits has been paid to New Yorkers since March. This compares with $2.1 billion in all of 2019.
It also said that 562,766 New Yorkers have received benefits through the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, which provides benefits to gig workers, contractors, the self-employed and others who don’t qualify for traditional unemployment benefits.