New York’s unemployment rate rebounding to almost pre-pandemic levels

Local News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- Millions of Americans found themselves abruptly without a job in the spring of 2020 as COVID was beginning to tighten its grip on the nation. In its wake, COVID left post-pandemic economic recovery heavy on the minds of Americans and government officials at all levels.

Much of the focus has been on unemployment and the slow return of workers into the job force.

The state’s unemployment rates from April 2019, 2020, and 2021 show that many people have gone back to work since last year but there are still more unemployed now than there were two years ago.

New York City has seen the least rebound. In April 2020 they had an unemployment rate of 15.5%. This year NYC’s average unemployment rate remains at 10.8%, while the average of all other metro areas is 5.5%. It’s nowhere close to NYC’s unemployment rate in April 2019 of 3.7%.

There’s a much smaller difference between all other metro-area unemployment rates comparing April 2021 to pre-pandemic levels in 2019. The unemployment rate rose an average of 1.8% from April 2019 to 2021 for all metro areas besides NYC which fell far outside the average with a difference of 7.1%.

Ithaca is the city with the closest unemployment rate in April 2021 to pre-pandemic levels. In April 2019 the rate was 3.2% and this April it was 4.2%. In the Capital Region, the difference in the unemployment rate between 2019 and 2021 was 1.7%, it went from 3.3% to 5.0%.

Unemployment rate in metro areas

RegionApril 2019April 2020April 2021
Metro areas3.6%16.3%8.0%
Buffalo-Niagara Falls 3.9%20.9%6.2%
Glens Falls4.4%17.1%5.6%
New York City3.7%15.5%10.8%
Watertown-Fort Drum5.4%18.2%5.8%
Non-metro areas4.4%16.0%5.7%
Source: NYSDOL April 2020 Unemployment Report & April 2021 Unemployment Report

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