Unemployment in New York City is up
September 15, 2011, 5:12 pm
City Unemployment Rate Ticks Up to 8.7%
By PATRICK MCGEEHAN
The two-week strike by unionized employees of Verizon offset all of the hiring that occurred last month in New York City and pushed the city’s unemployment rate up slightly, according to figures released Thursday by the State Department of Labor.
The city’s official unemployment rate rose to 8.7 percent in August from 8.6 percent in July, as the total number of jobs declined, the department reported. Even discounting the strike, the city’s job market remained weak at the end of the summer as fears of another recession spoiled some employers’ appetites for new workers.
Without the strike by 8,700 Verizon workers, the city’s private-sector employment would have fallen by 4,500 jobs, after adjustments for the usual seasonal trends in hiring and firing, said Barbara Byrne Denham, an economist with Eastern Consolidated, a real estate services firm in Manhattan. Countering those losses — in jobs, if not in incomes — was a gain of about 4,900 government jobs in the month, she said.
Ms. Denham performs her own calculations to adjust for seasonal fluctuations because the Labor Department does not make those adjustments for all of the city data.
The city’s highest-paying sectors, Wall Street and other financial services, did not do any significant hiring in August. Indeed, employment in the securities industry is down by more than 1,000 jobs this year, Ms. Denham said.
Those losses preceded some big layoff announcements from large banks, like Bank of America, which has said it would eliminate 30,000 jobs.
Statewide, the number of jobs fell by about 30,000 in August, with more than half of that total attributable to the Verizon strike, the department reported. The state’s unemployment rate held at 8 percent last month, well below the national rate of 9.1 percent for August.
The number of unemployed people in the state increased a bit to 756,400 in August, the department said. That number does include people without jobs who did not actively seek work during the month. Nearly 450,000 people collected unemployment benefits from New York State in August, the department said.