Ulster unemploment rate 8.8%, the highest in the 20 years

Dutchess County’s unemployment rate hit 8.4 percent in January, the state Department of Labor reported this afternoon. Ulster County’s rate reached 8.8 percent, and Orange County’s rate was 8.6 percent.

The Dutchess rate was the highest since 1994, a year when the impact of IBM Corp.’s massive early 1990s downsizings were still considerable. It’s also the highest rate for any month since January 1994. The previous high for any month this year was 8.2 percent in September. The Ulster rate was the highest in the 20 years in the labor department’s current series, which dates to 1990.

Regional labor analyst Johny Nelson said in his monthly statement: “The regional job market continues to suffer from this protracted economic downturn. In January 2010, private sector jobs in the Hudson Valley fell over the year by 3.2 percent, a slight improvement from the 3.6 percent drop recorded in January 2009. Construction has been especially hard hit, with the sector accounting for more than a third of all private sector jobs over the period.”

The department said that statewide, revised jobs data shows that the state’s private sector job count, after seasonal adjustment, peaked in April 2008 and that the impact of the national recession “was deeper than first estimated,” said Peter Neenan, head of the department’s statistics division, in his statement.

From April 2008 to December 2009, the state’s private-sector jobs fell rapidly by 352,700 jobs, or a drop of 4.8 percent, the department said.

The state’s rate, using the same series as the county numbers, which are not seasonally adjusted, was 9.4 percent. Using the adjusted rate, which is designed to compensate for normal seasonal ups and downs, the state rate hit 8.8 percent. New York City’s rate was 10.4 percent. By that same measure, the nation’s rate was 9.7 percent.

Source: Poughkeepsie Journal

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