Rochester-area job losses soar in April

It’s official the viral lockdown has been an economic catastrophe of historic proportions for New York State

It’s official the viral lockdown has been an economic catastrophe of historic proportions for New York State

Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties have been less hard-hit than NY state as a whole, however.

New York State lost 1.834 million private-sector jobs on a year-to-year basis, rolling the April total all the way back to a level last seen in 1996. Nonfarm jobs decreased by 103,800, or 19.1 percent, compared with April 2019, while the number of private-sector jobs dropped by 98,200, or 21.3 percent.

The extent of the damage was documented in the monthly employment report released yesterday (unusually, and inexplicably, after normal business hours) by the state Labor Department. The official state rate was statistically indistinguishable from the national unemployment rate of 14.7 percent. Others stayed home because of a fear of contracting COVID-19.

The official rate for April was 10.6 percent, but state Labor Department economist Glenn Mills says it was probably closer to 14 percent. Employment dropped by around 8% in those states from a month earlier.

Almost one-third of the monthly jobs decline statewide occurred in leisure and hospitality, which dropped by 577,700, with most of the losses (-471,400) reported in accommodation and food services. The jobless rates in Nevada and Hawaii exceeded their previous records by more than 10 percentage points each.

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Across New York, the number of private-sector jobs fell by 1,834,800, or 22.1 percent. Government decreased by 300 jobs, or 2.8% of the workforce.

New York's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate jumped from 4.1 percent to 14.5 percent. This change was the state's largest recorded monthly increase since current record keeping began in 1976.

As shown below, in a state Labor Department table, the number of new unemployment filings since the mid-March lockdown order is now approaching 2 million NY residents, or roughly 20 percent of the April labor force.

The number of private sector jobs in NY state is based on a payroll survey of 18,000 NY businesses conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. Monthly payroll employment estimates are preliminary and subject to revision as more data become available the following month. The federal government calculates NY state's unemployment rate based partly upon the results of the Current Population Survey, which contacts 3,100 households in the state each month.

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