Rochester’s economy continued its growth spurt in July, with a drop in the jobless rate and soaring private sector job gains.
The Rochester region ranked near the top among the 15 metro areas statewide for its percentage growth in jobs last month. The region—which includes Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Wayne and Yates counties—gained 9,800 nonfarm jobs, or 1.9 percent, while the private sector added 9,400 jobs, or 2.1 percent, not seasonally adjusted.
Nonfarm jobs include private sector and government jobs.
Rochester’s unemployment rate fell to 4.3 percent in July from 5.1 percent a year ago, not seasonally adjusted, the state Department of Labor reported this week.
Seasonally adjusted data reflects 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.
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 an improved unemployment rate.
From July 2017 to July 2018, the state’s private sector job count rose by 7,900, or 0.1 percent, to 8.19 million, an all-time employment high. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate statewide fell from 4.5 percent last year to 4.3 percent last month, matching the state’s lowest level since March 2007.
Job gains statewide continued to primarily be in educational & health services, while the manufacturing sector lost 4,800 jobs from July 2017 to July 2018, the Department of Labor reported.
Nationwide, some 157,000 jobs were added in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate edged down to 3.9 percent. The employment-to-population ratio rose to a new, post-recession high of 60.5 percent.
Glassdoor Economic Research, which had predicted July’s job growth to be 188,000, has forecasted job gains of about 154,000 jobs per month through next June, although the firm cautions that the forecasts are at the whim of other external factors.
Despite the good news, the Center for Economic and Policy Research reports that there is little evidence of accelerating wage growth. In the last year, the average hourly wage has risen by 2.7 percent.
CEPR reports that the number of involuntary part-time workers fell by 176,000 in July, while the percentage of unemployment due to voluntary quits rose to 13.5 percent. The jobless rate for Hispanic workers nationwide fell to 4.5 percent, a new record low.
CEPR also reported that blue collar employment grew by 0.3 percent in July as the nation added 52,000 jobs in construction, manufacturing and mining and logging. Over the last three months, blue collar jobs added an average of 53,000 jobs per month.
Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., an outplacement company that tracks job gains and losses, reported that year-over-year teen hiring rose 62 percent in July. Some 307,000 workers aged 16 to 19 found jobs in July, bringing the summer’s total to 1.39 million teen job gains.
“Some retailers announced they were beginning to hire for the holiday season early, a boon to teen workers who want employment,” said Challenger, Gray & Christmas Vice President Andrew Challenger. “While the participation rate among teenagers has averaged under 40 percent per year since the recession years, teens can certainly benefit from the tight labor market, especially as employers struggle to fill positions.”
Challenger, Gray & Christmas’ July Job Cuts also showed marked improvement. The pace of downsizing nationwide fell to the lowest level of the year, as U.S.-based employers announced plans to cut 27,122 workers from payrolls during the month.
“The economy is at near-full employment,” said CEO John Challenger. “Nearly 90 percent of companies recently polled by Challenger are either actively hiring or in retention mode. Companies are not letting go of their workforces right now.”
Despite holiday hiring, retailers continue to lead the pack when it comes to job cuts. Nearly 76,000 layoffs were announced in the retail sector in July.
“Retail cuts have been inching up the last four years, as online shopping causes disruptions to business as usual,” Challenger’s CEO said. “We’re starting to see layoffs in this sector that rival recession years.”
Nationwide, more than 272,000 layoffs have been announced this year, with more than 16,000 in New York State. In July, nearly 2,000 job cuts were announced statewide.
Locally, the economy has improved significantly the last couple of months. Each county in the Rochester metro area saw significant declines in unemployment rates in July:
• Genesee County—down to 3.7 percent from 4.3 percent in July 2017;
• Livingston County—4.1 percent, compared with 4.9 percent in July 2017;
• Monroe County—4.4 percent, down from 5.2 percent a year ago;
• Ontario County—3.5 percent, compared with 4.1 percent a year ago;
• Orleans County—4.9 percent, compared with 6 percent in July 2017;
• Wayne County—3.8 percent, down from 4.7 percent a year ago; and
• Yates County—3.3 percent, down from 4.1 percent in July 2017.
The Syracuse area jobless rate last month fell to 4.3 percent from 5.1 percent the previous year, while in Buffalo the unemployment rate was 4.5 percent, compared with 5.4 percent in July 2017. Both areas experienced a growth in nonfarm and private sector jobs last month.
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