Jobless rate jumps in Monroe County, region

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With New York’s stay-at-home orders in full force, Monroe County’s unemployment rate in April jumped to 15 percent, up from 3.7 percent a year earlier, the latest monthly report from the state Labor Department shows.

Though New York City has suffered some 200,000 Covid-19 cases and more than 23,000 deaths, compared with 2,742 cases and 211 deaths in Monroe County as of May 27, it posted a lower unemployment rate: 14.6 percent. New York City’s rate in April 2019 also was 3.7 percent.

The jobless rate for the Rochester metro area was 14.9 percent versus 3.7 percent in April 2019. Only Orleans County—at 15.8 percent, up from 4.2 percent—had a higher rate than Monroe County.

The unemployment rates elsewhere in the region were Livingston County, 14.1 percent; Ontario County, 14.5 percent; Wayne County, 14.3 percent; and Yates County, 13.2 percent.

The Buffalo-Niagara region saw its jobless rate soar to 19.2 percent, up from 3.9 percent in April 2019. In Syracuse, the rate was 16.3 percent, up from 3.8 percent, and metro Albany recorded a rate of 12.5 percent versus 3.3 percent a year earlier.

New York’s jobless rate rose to 15 percent, compared with 3.6 percent a year ago; nationwide, the rate was 14.4 percent, up from 3.3 percent in April 2019.

The latest numbers almost certainly do not reflect the full measure of unemployment in the Rochester region today. The Labor Department last week reported that the number of private-sector jobs in the region last month dropped by 98,200, or 21.3 percent, compared with a year earlier. And the total number of initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits in the region since mid-March reached 124,800 in the week ended May 23, compared with 9,879 in the same period last year.

The Labor Department calculates local area unemployment rates in part using the results of the Current Population Survey, which contacts roughly 3,100 households in New York each month. The data in the latest report are preliminary.

Paul Ericson is Rochester Beacon executive editor. All Rochester Beacon coronavirus articles are collected here.

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