Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

March 28, 2013

Labor Dept. releases gloomy NY numbers

STAFF REPORTS
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — 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. 

”People marginally attached to the labor force are not working, but indicate that they would like to work, are available to work, and have looked for work at some time during the past 12 months, even though they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities,” the report states.

Nationally, that number totaled 2.5 million in 2012.

A third category, discouraged workers, included among the marginally attached, are people who are not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available.

In 2012, there were 69,300 discouraged workers in New York state, according to the latest data, accounting for about 40 percent of the marginally attached in the state. Statewide, the percentage was 9.3 percent in 2012 compared with 8.6 percent nationwide

The full report can be found at www.bls.gov.