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Rochester jobless rate climbs in July

Rochester’s roller coaster economy continued its bumpy ride in July, with an increase in the jobless rate and a decrease in the number of private-sector jobs, the state Department of Labor reported this week.

The Rochester metropolitan area lost 1,900 nonfarm jobs, or 0.4 percent, since July 2016, while the private sector shed 1,400 jobs, or 0.3 percent, not seasonally adjusted. Nonfarm jobs include private sector and government jobs.

The Buffalo and Elmira areas were the only other metros with private-sector job losses in July.

Rochester’s unemployment rate rose to 5 percent in July from 4.8 percent a year ago, the Department of Labor reported. Statewide, just two regions saw a decrease in their jobless rates last month.

The Labor Department uses two different data sets to determine unemployment rates and job counts; the state’s private-sector job count is based on a payroll survey of 18,000 New York employees, while the federal government calculates the state’s jobless rates based in part on the results of the current population survey of 3,100 households statewide. The two data sets may result in a region showing job losses while also having a reduced unemployment rate.

Seasonally adjusted data reflect seasonal influences such as holiday and summer hires. Data of this type is most useful when comparing month-to-month, while non-seasonally adjusted data is most valid in comparisons of year-to-year data.

From July 2016 to July 2017, the state’s private-sector job count increased by 151,500. Last month, the number of private-sector jobs in New York was 8.1 million.

Separately, the number of workforce reductions announced by U.S. employers in July was 28,307, the lowest monthly total since November 2016, according to a monthly report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

The retail industry nationwide continues to be hit hardest this year with job cuts. Retail jobs cuts are nearly 47 percent higher this year than through the same point last year. In New York, some 17,196 layoffs have been announced this year; in July, more than 3,400 cuts were announced statewide, a result of cost-cutting in many cases.

“While we have yet to see the large-scale layoffs of previous years, especially as oil and tech rebound, the specter of a downturn is on the horizon and could spell massive cuts as we head into the fourth quarter and into next year,” CEO John Challenger said in a statement.

The Center for Economic and Policy Research reported that New York continues to see the largest losses in manufacturing jobs in the Rust Belt. While nationwide the manufacturing sector gained 6,300 jobs, or 0.15 percent, in July, New York’s manufacturing sector lost 4,600 jobs, or 1.1 percent.

In the Rust Belt, employment in blue collar jobs—which include construction, manufacturing and mining and logging—fell by 4,900 jobs last month. CEPR noted that since President Trump took office in January, the number of jobs in these sectors has fallen by 12,200, with New York topping the states with blue-collar job losses.

In New York last month, the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate increased from 4.5 percent to 4.7 percent, the state Department of Labor reported.

Area non-seasonally adjusted jobless rates last month were:
• Monroe County—5.1 percent, up from 4.9 percent in July 2016;
• Genesee County—4.2 percent, compared with 4.1 percent in July 2016;
• Livingston County—4.8 percent, up from 4.7 percent a year ago;
• Ontario County—4.1 percent, compared with 4 percent a year ago;
• Orleans County—5.9 percent, up from 5.6 percent in July 2016;
• Wayne County—4.6 percent, down from 4.8 percent a year ago; and
• Yates County—4.1 percent, down from 4.2 percent a year ago.

Buffalo’s jobless rate increased to 5.3 percent last month from 5 percent a year ago, while the unemployment rate in Syracuse was 5 percent in July, up from 4.9 percent a year ago.

Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

(c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-363-7269 or email madams@bridgetowermedia.com.

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