NY state lost 25 percent of new jobs since last decline

Thu Mar 5, 2009 3:31pm EST
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York state, in the final quarter of 2008, lost over 25 percent of the jobs it had gained since the last downturn, a statistic that reveals the deepening recession, the labor department said on Thursday.

This means 110,300 people working at private companies lost their jobs in just three months.

These employers had hired more than 400,000 people from July 2003, when the last decline ended, to August 2008, when the economy peaked, the state labor department's report said.

Private companies switched rapidly from hiring workers -- adding 70,000 in the third quarter -- to laying them off.

"Data released today continue to underscore the severity of the steadily deepening recession in New York State," said Peter Neenan, director of the state labor department's Division of Research and Statistics in a release.

New York state's annual unemployment rate of 5.4 percent was a four-year high while the 2.3 percentage point jump seen over the year was the biggest since these records first were kept in 1976. The annual data were part of the revisions states and federal governments undertake at the end of each year.

The latest data for January showed continuing weakness. The state's unemployment rose 0.4 percentage point to 7 percent in January, up from the year-ago level of 4.7 percent.

New York City's unemployment rate in January was 6.9 percent, up sharply from 4.8 percent a year go, as Wall Street's layoffs spiraled through other industries.

While the city's January jobless rate was down 0.1 percentage point from December, monthly fluctuations are not as meaningful, an analyst with the state Labor Department said.   Continued...

<p>Tony Petri, an unemployed information technology manager, hands out flyers seeking employment, in Times Square in New York October 22, 2002. REUTERS/Peter Morgan</p>