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City Jobless Rate Hits Recession Levels

Data shows that state and city is falling behind the national employment average.

In June, New York had its highest unemployment rate in more than two years, countering a national trend that has seen jobless rates steadily inch downward, says the Wall Street Journal (paywall).

Recently released U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data pegged the state unemployment rate in June at 8.9 percent. The city's jobless rate for the same months was at 10 percent—considerably higher than the national average of 8.2 percent.

James Brown, a state Labor Department market analyst, told WSJ that the state’s numbers are driven up by the city, which generally has a higher unemployment rate than the rest of the country because of factors like education levels.

"As the national economy has gained strength, a lot of the strength has been in areas that don't really benefit New York City," Brown told the paper, citing the auto-industry rebound and gains in agriculture as examples.

The article says that about 40 percent of job gains in the past year have been in business and professional services, such as law and accounting firms, though the information services sector—including publishing and music­—has lost jobs.

The AP says that another factor is the 105,000 new job seekers entering the New YOrk labor market in the past year, which may contribute to pushing the jobless rate upward.

"As fast as New York City is creating jobs, people are entering the labor market even faster, which indicates optimism and confidence in the [city's] long-term future,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement.

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