Syracuse Jobless Figures a Full Percent Better than Last Year but Still Not 'Back'

Nov 26, 2013

Construction is one area that's improving to help lower Syracuse- area unemployment

  “Better but not Back” … that’s what state labor economists are saying about Syracuse’s latest unemployment numbers released Tuesday.  

The data show the jobless rate for October at 7.0%…a full percent better than the 8.0% of a year ago.  But NYS Labor Department Economist Karen Knapick-Scalzo in the Syracuse office sees a lot of room for improvement.

"At this point we’re still recovering in terms of our unemployment rate.  We’re doing better than we did a year ago, but we’re still not back to our pre-recession unemployment levels, which were closer to the 5.0% and 5.5% range.  So we have made improvements over the year.” 

Those improvements have largely come in the areas of health care and education jobs.  There have also been job gains in transportation, utilities and construction.  The best Upstate metro areas were Ithaca at 4.8% and Albany at 6.0%.  The worst were Elmira, 7.8%, and Binghamton, 7.3%. 


Upstate NY (52-co. area)6.87.8  Metro Areas6.77.7    Albany-Schenectady-Troy6.07.1    Binghamton7.38.2    Buffalo-Niagara Falls7.07.9    Elmira7.88.5    Glens Falls6.37.5    Ithaca4.85.5    Kingston7.28.3    Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown6.87.7    Rochester6.77.6    Syracuse7.08.0    Utica-Rome7.28.1  Non-metro Counties7.38.3 


The latest jobs data show some promise for people in the Syracuse area looking for work.  Karen Knapick-Scalzo notes the improvement, but says there’s still room to recover toward the 5.5% levels pre-recession.  Some fields though are showing promise.

“A lot of the projections show demand for the health services industry, the engineering field;  we’re also seeing demand in computer-related occupations, some with the financial field.  So there are a lot of occupational areas across different industry sectors that we are projecting growth in.”

There are about 3500 fewer people looking for work than a year ago…and Knapick-Scalzo reports about 2300 more jobs in the area.  Other seasonal job gains will show up in retail and hospitality…but might be temporary.  The Syracuse Metro unemployment of 7.0% percent was right on the national average…and a little better than the statewide rate of 7.5%.