Tonawanda News

Local News

March 28, 2013

Labor Dept. releases gloomy N.Y. numbers

Tonawanda News — New York state saw a significant uptick in the percentage of unemployed or marginally employed workers from 2011 to 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in a report released Wednesday.

Officials say the percentage of New Yorkers known as U-6, including unemployed workers and those employed part time for economic reasons or marginally employed, rose to 14.9 in 2012, up from 14.3 the prior year.

Chief Regional Economist Martin Kohli noted that the 2012 rate was the highest rate reported in New York state since the data was first collected for the state beginning in 2003. 

The numbers also buck a more positive national trend.

“From 2011 to 2012, the rates of labor underutilization for New York and the United States moved in opposite directions, trending up in the state and down in the nation. For example, the annual average for U-6 was up 0.6 percentage points in New York and down 1.2 points nationwide,” authors of the report noted.

The national percentage of individuals considered U-6 was 14.7 in 2012, representing a decrease of 0.2 percent from 2011.

New York City’s percentage of individuals categorized as U-6 was 15.8 in 2012, as compared with 15.4 in 2011.

The U-6 rate for the state as a whole has remained at or above 14.3 percent since 2009, according to the report.

The latest study, titled “Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization” aims to consider marginal or underemployment along with traditional unemployment data, forming the broadest measure for comparison.

In real numbers, the state had 829,600 unemployed residents in 2012 and 439,600 were employed part time for economic reasons (also known as involuntary part time), the report stetes. 

“These individuals were working part time because of slack work or business conditions or because they were unable to find a full-time job,” the report’s authors said.

Nationwide, there were 8.1 million individuals working part time for economic reasons in 2012.

The number of individuals called “marginally attached to the labor force” in New York reached 177,100. 

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