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New York State Department of Labor

State's Unemployment Rate Remained at 7.9% in May

New York State’s Private Sector Job Count Declined by 21,200

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Albany, NY (June 16, 2011) -

New York State's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.9% in May 2011 - unchanged from April's rate - the State Labor Department reported today. The number of unemployed New Yorkers declined by 800, from 752,900 in April to 752,100 in May.

The state's economy lost 21,200 private sector jobs, or 0.3%, in May 2011. Since the state's economic recovery began in November 2009, New York has recouped 45%, or 148,700, of the private sector jobs lost during the recession in 2008-2009.

"New York State's unemployment rate held steady at 7.9% between April and May 2011. We remained well below the nation's unemployment rate, which increased from 9.0% to 9.1% over the same period," said Bohdan Wynnyk, Chief of Labor Statistics, Division of Research and Statistics.

Note: When comparing different months, seasonally adjusted data provide the most valid comparison; for example, April 2011 versus May 2011. Non-seasonally adjusted data are valuable in year-to-year comparisons of the same month; for example, May 2010 versus May 2011.

1) Unemployment rates (seasonally adjusted)

In May 2011, New York State's unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.9%. The U.S. rate ticked up from 9.0% in April to 9.1% in May 2011.

Unemployment Rates*
*Data are preliminary and subject to change.
May 2011*April 2011May 2010
United States 9.1 9.0 9.6
New York State 7.9 7.9 8.6
New York City 8.6 8.6 9.6
NYS, outside NYC 7.3 7.4 7.9


2) Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI), the four tiers of federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08) and Extended Benefits (EB) data:

Program NameDescriptionMaximum Weeks of Benefits
Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) People who are unemployed through no fault of their own. Must remain ready, willing and able to work, and actively seek employment.  Up to 26 weeks
Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08) Tiers 1 and 2 The federal EUC08 program enacted on June 30, 2008 gave claimants who exhausted their regular UI 13 weeks of emergency benefits. Federal legislation signed on December 21, 2008 added 20 more weeks of emergency benefits, and federal legislation signed on November 6, 2009 added one additional week. Up to 34 weeks
Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08) Tiers 3 and 4 Federal legislation signed on November 6, 2009 added yet another 19 weeks of emergency benefits in Tiers 3 and 4. Tier 4 (6 weeks of benefits) ended on August 15, 2010. Currently, up to 13 weeks
Extended Benefits (EB) State legislation signed into law on May 20, 2009 offered more weeks of Extended Benefits (EB) for people who exhausted their EUC08 benefits. State legislation signed into law by Gov. Cuomo on March 28, 2011 extended the state's potential eligibility for these federally funded benefits through 2011. Because New York State's 3-month average total unemployment rate dropped to 7.9% as of May 2011, the number of EB weeks available to the unemployed will be reduced from 20 to 13 after the week ending July 10, 2011. Up to 20 weeks through July 10, 2011. Up to 13 weeks after the week ending July 10, 2011.


Under the Extended Benefits (EB) law, if the three-month average seasonally adjusted unemployment rate falls below 8.0%, then the number of available weeks of EB decreases from 20 to 13. For the three months ending May 2011, New York State's average unemployment rate was 7.9%, reflecting the state's continued economic recovery. As a result, only 13 weeks of EB benefits will be available to the unemployed in New York State after the week ending July 10, 2011. EB is available to the unemployed after regular and emergency unemployment compensation is exhausted. Currently, the maximum number of weeks of all unemployment benefits available to claimants in New York is 93 weeks. After July 10, the maximum weekly benefits will decrease to 86 weeks.

In December 2010, federal legislation was signed into law which extended the EUC08 program and 100% federal funding of the EB program through the end of 2011. On March 28, 2011, Governor Cuomo signed legislation into law that allows unemployed New Yorkers to receive federally funded EB through 2011 as long as the state's unemployment rate triggers an extended benefit period.

For the EUC08 program:

  • Currently, New Yorkers are eligible to receive EUC Tiers 1, 2 and 3. People who exhaust Tier 3 move directly into the EB program.
  • Based on the latest amendments to federal law, to qualify for EUC08 Tier 1 people must exhaust regular UI benefits by December 25, 2011. They must claim EUC Tier 1 by January 1, 2012.
  • To qualify for EUC08 Tiers 2 and 3, people must exhaust Tier 1 or 13 weeks of Tier 2 by January 1, 2012. Beneficiaries in the EUC08 program may continue to collect UI from the tier of EUC that they are in on January 8, 2012. They can collect until those benefits run out, or until June 10, 2012, whichever comes first, but they may not move to the next tier of EUC08.

For the federally funded EB program:

  • Unless there is Congressional action, people may not claim benefits under the EB program after January 8, 2012. No payment will occur after that date.
  • The last week for which a claimant in NYS can receive "high EB" (EB weeks 14 through 20) is the week ending July 10, 2011. Claimants with 13 or more weeks as of the week ending July 10th will not receive any additional EB payments.
  • If the state's three-month average seasonally adjusted unemployment rate were to increase to 8.0% or above before the end of this year, NYS must wait at least 13 weeks after the week ending July 10, 2011 (i.e., mid-October) before becoming eligible for the 7 weeks of "high EB."

Claimants are encouraged to use the department's online Unemployment Insurance calculator to estimate the amount of unemployment benefits due. See the calculator on the Department of Labor's web site or go here:http://www.labor.ny.gov/ui/claimantinfo/UIBenefitsCalculator.shtm

See the table below for beneficiary data for these programs. During the week that included May 12, 2011, 466,318 people (including out-of-state claimants) received regular UI, EUC08, or EB. This includes 426,324 who live in New York State. Residents who received benefits under these programs made up 57% of the total unemployed in the state in May 2011.


*Data are preliminary and subject to revision.
Note: EUC08 Tier 1 began 7/13/2008; Tier 2 began 2/22/2009; Tier 3 began 11/15/2009; Tier 4 began 2/21/2010. EB began 5/24/2009.
Program and Data Item*May 2011April 2011May 2010
Regular UI, reference week beneficiaries 206,223 225,544 232,125
Regular UI, year-to-date beneficiaries 571,406 527,559 628,219
EUC08, reference week beneficiaries 202,851 201,154 309,264
EUC08, year-to-date beneficiaries 374,145 343,377 534,422
Extended UI, reference week beneficiaries 57,261 60,616 19,506
Extended UI year-to-date beneficiaries 167,219 153,685 57,766


3) Jobs data (seasonally adjusted):

The U.S. and New York State, April 2011 - May 2011

The table below compares the over-the-month change in total nonfarm and private sector jobs in the United States and New York State between April and May 2011. 

Change in Total Nonfarm and Government Jobs,
April 2011 - May 2011
Change in
Total Nonfarm Jobs:

(private sector + government)
Change in
Private Sector Jobs:
United States +54,000 +0.0% +83,000 +0.1%
New York State -24,700 -0.3% -21,200 -0.3%


4) Jobs data (not seasonally adjusted):

U.S., New York State, Major Regions, and Metro Areas: May 2010 - May 2011

The table below compares the over-the-year change in total nonfarm and private sector jobs in the U.S., New York State, the Upstate and Downstate regions, and metro areas in New York State between May 2010 and May 2011.

Change in Total Nonfarm and Private Sector Jobs,
May 2010 - May 2011
Change in
Total Nonfarm Jobs:
(private sector + government)
Change in
Private Sector Jobs:
United States +952,000 +0.7% +1,798,000 +1.7%
New York State +23,600 +0.3% +97,900 +1.4%
Downstate NY (10-co. area) +5,400 +0.1% +55,700 +1.2%
  New York City +9,900 +0.3% +48,100 +1.5%
  Suburban Counties -4,500 -0.3% +7,600 +0.5%
    Nassau-Suffolk -4,800 -0.4% +3,800 +0.4%
    Putnam-Rockland-Westchester +300 +0.1% +3,800 +0.8%
Upstate NY (52-co. area) -1,500 -0.0% +26,900 +1.1%
  Metro Areas +900 +0.0% +24,200 +1.2%
    Albany-Schenectady-Troy -5,300 -1.2% +2,900 +0.9%
    Binghamton +200 +0.2% +800 +0.9%
    Buffalo-Niagara Falls +2,200 +0.4% +4,800 +1.1%
    Glens Falls -1,900 -3.4% -500 -1.1%
    Ithaca +600 +0.9% +800 +1.4%
    Kingston -1,600 -2.6% -500 -1.1%
    Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown -500 -0.2% +2,500 +1.3%
    Rochester +9,300 +1.8% +11,600 +2.7%
    Syracuse -800 -0.3% +1,400 +0.6%
    Utica-Rome -1,300 -1.0% +400 +0.4%
Non-metro Counties -2,400 -0.4% +2,700 +0.6%


Job highlights since May 2010:

  • Since May 2010, the number of private sector jobs in the state increased by 97,900, or 1.4%. Over the same time frame, the nation's private sector job count increased by 1.7%.

  • Private sector jobs grew by 1.2% over the past year in the 10-county Downstate region. Job gains in the Downstate region were centered in New York City, which grew by 1.5%.

  • In the 52-county Upstate region, private sector jobs grew by 1.1% over the past year. Upstate's employment gains were most rapid in the region's metro areas, which grew by 1.2%.

  • Over the past year, the private sector job count grew most rapidly in these metro areas:
    • Rochester (+2.7%)
    • New York City (+1.5%)
    • Ithaca (+1.4%)
    • Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown (+1.3%)

  • Glens Falls (-1.1%) and Kingston (-1.1%) were the only metro areas in the state to lose private sector jobs between May 2010 and May 2011.

5) Jobs data (not seasonally adjusted):

Change in jobs by major industry sector, May 2010 - May 2011

The table below compares the over-the-year change in jobs in New York State by major industry sector between May 2010 and May 2011.

Change in Jobs by Major Industry Sector,
May 2010 - May 2011

Sectors With Job Gains:
Professional & Business Services +30,200
Educational & Health Services +29,300
Leisure & Hospitality +17,900
Financial Activities +12,100
Trade, Transportation & Utilities +9,300
Information +3,000
Other Services +2,700
Sectors With Job Losses:
Government -74,300
Manufacturing -4,100
Construction -2,400
Natural Resources & Mining -100


Highlights among NYS sectors with job gains since May 2010:

  • Professional and business services added the most private sector jobs (+30,200) over the past year. Within that sector, job gains were greatest in professional, scientific, and technical services (+14,200) and administrative and support services (+12,800).

  • Private educational and health services (+29,300) had the second greatest increase in jobs between May 2010 and May 2011. Sector job gains were greatest in educational services (+20,200).

  • The third largest over-the-year jobs increase occurred in leisure and hospitality (+17,900). Sector gains in accommodation and food services (+20,900) outweighed losses in arts, entertainment, and recreation (-3,000).

Highlights among NYS sectors with job losses since May 2010:

  • Over the past year, government lost the most jobs (-74,300) of any sector. Employment declines were greatest at the federal level (-46,200), reflecting the loss of large numbers of temporary Census-related positions over the past year. Job losses also occurred at the local (-20,600) and state (-7,500) levels over the past 12 months.

  • Manufacturing had the second largest jobs decline (-4,100) over the past year, with job losses centered in non-durable goods (-3,400).


Note: The responsibility for the production of monthly estimates of state and metro area nonfarm employment by industry moved from the Division of Research and Statistics to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), starting with March 2011 estimates. More detailed information on the change is available on the BLS web site.

Many economic data series have a seasonal pattern, which means they tend to occur at the same time each year (e.g., retail jobs usually increase in December). Seasonal adjustment is the process of removing seasonal effects from a data series. This is done to simplify the data so that they may be more easily interpreted and help to reveal true underlying trends. Seasonal adjustment permits comparisons of data from one month to data from any other month.

Labor force statistics, including the unemployment rate, for New York and every other state are based on statistical regression models specified by the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. We survey 18,000 business establishments to get jobs data for New York State by industry. The jobs data do not include agricultural workers, the self-employed, unpaid family workers and domestic workers in private households.


See State and Area Job Data (opens in new window)
See Labor Market Overview (opens in new window)
See Jobs and Unemployment Fact Sheet (opens in new window)


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