Upstate NY unemployment drops to 6.4 percent

01.28.14 | Bob Price

The unemployment rate for New York's 52-county upstate region fell to 6.4 percent in December, down from 8.4 percent a year earlier, according to state Labor Department figures released Tuesday.

The 10-county downstate region including New York City saw the rate fall from 8.2 percent to 6.7 percent over the year, and metropolitan areas upstate saw their rate drop from 8.1 to 6.2 percent.

The statewide unemployment rate was 7.1 percent in December. The national rate was 6.7 percent.

The labor department said 109,900 private sector jobs were added to New York's economy in 2013, bringing the job count to a record high of 7,503,700.

Health care, social services, retail and food service accounted for most of the job gains. Government lost 13,200 jobs, more than any other sector. More than half were in schools.

Among metro areas upstate, Ithaca had the lowest unemployment rate at 4.1 percent, down from 5.5 percent in 2012. Glens Falls had the highest at 7.0 percent, down from 9.1 percent a year earlier.

The unemployment rate in non-metropolitan counties was 7.2 percent in December 2013, down from 9.3 percent a year earlier.

New York City's unemployment rate was 7.5 percent, and its suburbs were at 5.1 percent.

The counties with the highest unemployment rates were Bronx County, 10.6 percent; Hamilton and Jefferson counties, 9.1 percent; and Lewis County, 8.9 percent.

Tompkins, Nassau, Putnam and Rockland counties were all below 5 percent.