New York City unemployment rate plummets to lowest rate since 2008

New York City unemployment rate plummets to lowest rate since 2008

New York City unemployment rate plummets to lowest rate since 2008
November 12, 2015

New York City’s unemployment rate dropped dramatically to 5.4 percent in the third quarter of 2015, down from 6.3 percent in the second quarter of the year, according to city Comptroller Scott Stringer’s Quarterly Economic Update set to be released later today. The report also shows a slowdown in the economy nationally with New York City outpacing the rest of the nation. 

“The City added 24,700 new private sector jobs in the third quarter, but more than 70 percent of that growth came from local sectors like retail, education and healthcare,” Stringer said in a statement. “That means more jobs for the people who make New York City run – bodega employees, teachers and health aides – and that’s great news for all New Yorkers.”

Most sectors of the city saw growth in the third quarter. The three areas that did not were information, manufacturing and professional industries which all shed jobs, with the information sector leading the way with a decline of 1,600 jobs.   

“City jobs that are more dependent on the national economy, such as accounting and legal work, grew at a much lower rate,” Stringer said. “That suggests that slowing growth outside of the city is taking its toll on our economy as well.”

The growth in jobs was only part of the reason for the decline in the unemployment. The report says the city saw an “unprecedented quarterly decline” in the city’s labor force. Roughly 33,300 New Yorkers stopped working or stopped actively looking for a job.

“An abrupt decline in the labor force sometimes implies an increase in the number of discouraged workers, although demographic factors could also be at play,” the report states. It’s too early to know what the exact cause could be, but nationally labor force participation rate or LFPR has been dropping for years.

One indicator that the decline in workforce population may not be of too much concern is the employment-to-population ratio. It remained at a record high of 57.6 percent in the 3rd quarter of 2015, which is even better than in 2008 when the unemployment rate was last at 5.4 percent.

Across the city, each borough saw their unemployment rate drop dramatically as well. The Bronx is still suffering from the highest rate of unemployment at 7.2 percent, but that is dramatically down from the 9.4 percent unemployment rate the borough had in the 3rd quarter of 2014.  

“The bottom line today is: local commerce is keeping our City moving forward even in a period of low national growth, but nothing lasts forever,” Stringer said.  “As we head into the winter, we’ll be keeping an eye on the indicators to see how the City fares in the final months of the year.”

You can read the full report here.

Michael Gareth Johnson