So much for that narrative! Counter to the stories upon stories of an economy in freefall, people are still working; at least they are according to October jobs statistics released today by the New York State Department of Labor.
Unemployment actually fell, albeit marginally, in New York State, dropping from 5.6 percent in September to 5.5 percent in October, while it remained unchanged in New York City at 5.7 percent (the national unemployment rate was 6.1 percent). The point is, it’s not climbing, and that seems weird, considering all that’s happened in the past month and a half.
Unemployment rates stayed flat across the five boroughs, changing only slightly in Manhattan and Queens and holding firm in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island. At 7.7 percent unemployment, the Bronx still leads the five boroughs in joblessness. Manhattan had the lowest unemployment rate at 5 percent, followed by Queens and Staten Island at 5.1 percent, and Brooklyn at 6.2 percent.
While the month-to-month figures are steady, the unemployment rate has increased substantially since last year. The state unemployment rate was up 1.1 percentage points from last year in October, and the city rate has climbed by 0.5 percentage points. If the city sheds financial sector jobs in the coming months, as many expect, it will be worth watching if local unemployment hits 10 percent, something that hasn’t happened since March of 1997, when the unemployment rate was 10.2 percent.