After dropping by more than six points over the previous two months, New York’s unemployment rate plateaued in October.
At 9.6 percent, the rate dropped just a tenth of a point from September.
The unemployment rate isn’t the only labor indicator that shows stagnation as the state continues its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Empire Center, the state is struggling to regain the jobs it had a year ago. Statewide, New York has reported a loss of 967,900 private sector jobs since October 2019. New York City has been especially hit hard as it accounts for 553,900 of the lost jobs.
The 11.5 percent drop-off is the second steepest decline over the past year. According to the Empire Center for Public Policy, two-thirds of the states have lost 7 percent or fewer jobs over the past year.
E.J. McMahon, a senior fellow for the Empire Center, said the state’s economic recovery is losing the momentum it gained over the summer as the state eased restrictions on businesses.
The nonpartisan think tank captured the job loss in a graphic. What once looked like a V-shaped recovery is starting to flatten out into an L-shape. However, in a tweet Friday, McMahon said it’s possible it could turn into another letter.
“If the coronavirus ‘second wave’ prompts NY to re-impose more business restrictions, this pattern could turn into a W,” he said, indicating that the state could once again lose some of the hundreds of thousands of jobs it recovered in recent months.
In the past month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been wary of implementing state or regionwide orders, eschewing those for a cluster approach that limits restrictions on businesses within zones that cover a few square miles.
“I think the targeting of the restriction to locality means there’s less economic disruption,” Cuomo told reporters Friday.
Personal finance website WalletHub, in a ranking of the states’ recoveries from the worst unemployment numbers back in the spring, last week ranked New York 47th overall, ahead of only California, Louisiana, Nevada and Hawaii.
Originally published by The Center Square. Republished with permission.