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What is New York State’s Current Unemployment Rate?

map illustrating New York's regions for labor markets

Russell Weaver

This excerpt is from Russell Weaver's post on Cornell's High Road Policy blog.


The current unemployment rate in New York State might be around 16%. In the Buffalo-Niagara metro, unemployment may be closer to 19%.

This Friday, 22 May 2020, at 10am EST, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will release its State Employment and Unemployment Data for April 2020. Similar to what the BLS April 2020 Employment Situation report from two weeks ago added to the national conversation, the upcoming release will provide the clearest picture to date on how COVID-19 has impacted jobs and the economy for individual states. (Note: the BLS Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment data release for April is scheduled for 3 June 2020.)

In prior coverage, we presented results from internal Cornell ILR Buffalo Co-Lab models that have been tracking the state unemployment rate as a function of aggregated monthly unemployment insurance (UI) claims. Our conservative model pegged the April 2020 New York State unemployment rate at about 13% of the March 2020 civilian labor force. When excluding an outlying/influential observation, our less conservative – and more representative – model projected a statewide, seasonally-adjusted rate of between 15% and 15.5%. In other words, our model suggests that the official unemployment rate in New York State is somewhat higher than the national rate of 14.7% that was announced earlier this month.

Although we will have to wait a few more days for official, seasonally adjusted BLS state-level estimates, the national data, coupled with raw (not seasonally adjusted) U.S. Census Bureau Basic Monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) data for April 2020, provide an opportunity to revisit our earlier analysis in light of new information. Such an exercise can help set expectations for state and local public officials who are looking for answers to questions about the magnitude of the unemployment crises that their jurisdictions are facing.


Read the rest of this article on Cornell's High Road Policy blog.

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