Report finds stability since 2011
The Hudson Valley, Albany region and Long Island have the highest “labor participation” rates in the state, all over 60 percent, according to a report released on Sept. 4 by the state comptroller.
The rate measures the percentage of people age 16 and older who are employed among those who potentially could be in the labor force. The other 40 percent includes, for example, students, retirees, stay-at-home parents or caregivers, people with disabilities and the long-term unemployed.
The unemployment rate dropped in all 10 regions of the state over the past five years. But only four — the Hudson Valley, Long Island, New York City and the Albany region — saw increases of more than 2 percent in the number of people employed.
By contrast, in much of upstate New York, noted Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, the lower unemployment rate has not translated to more people working because the size of the labor force fell at the same time. This happens, he said, when people move to other parts of the state, leave the state or drop out of the workforce because of retirement, school or family reasons.
The Southern Tier, for example, which includes the counties west of the Catskills along the northern border of Pennsylvania, lost nearly 27,000 workers in the past five years, or more than 8 percent of its labor force. The size of the labor force in the Hudson Valley has remained essentially unchanged.
The report also notes that the number of workers in New York aged 65 and older rose by 26 percent over the past five years, and that nearly 24 percent of workers in the state are members of unions, more than double the national figure.