Capital Region’s Unemployment Rate Returns to No. 1 in NYS
CEG intensifies efforts to boost employment by tapping talent from inside and outside the region
The Capital Region in 2017 reclaimed its standing as having the lowest unemployment rate in New York, tying the Long Island region. At 4.4 percent, the eight-county region’s unemployment rate was its ninth lowest in the last 18 years, according to a Center for Economic Growth (CEG) analysis of recently revised New York State Department of Labor (NYS DOL) data.
The regional unemployment rate’s ranking among the 10 New York State economic development regions improved from No. 2 in 2016, even though its rate increased over the year by 0.2 percentage points. Pushing the rate up was the addition of 1,100 unemployed individuals and only 800 workers to the labor force. At 550,100, the labor force was the largest it has been since 2013 and unemployment was at a two-year high at 24,100. Despite the increase in average unemployment, the region over the year saw a 1,200, or 4.4 percent, decline in unemployment claims.
At 4.3 percent, the Albany-Schenectady-Troy metropolitan statistical area (MSA) also had the lowest unemployment rate among the state’s 12 MSAs. It was up from 4.1 percent in 2016.
With both the national and regional economies at full employment, there is a need for new strategies to address the increased competition for talent. CEG is already ramping up its efforts to answer that call by helping unemployed and underemployed workers already here enter careers in manufacturing and bringing talent from outside the region into it.
CEG’s initiatives on this front include:
• Expanding the number of career fairs at which Talent Connect staff will represents CEG investors;
• Helping Hudson Valley Community College develop a short-term, stackable credential training program, or “boot camp,” for unemployed and underemployed individuals interested in joining the Capital Region’s manufacturing workforce;
• Sponsoring a Manufacturing Intermediary Apprenticeship Program (MIAP) to assist local manufacturers in training workers for high-skill trades.
• Forming five new working groups for each of the region’s key industry clusters, comprised of community and business leaders to enhance CEG’s economic development efforts and, among other tasks, coordinate workforce development.
• Forming a Veterans Working Group to improve veteran engagement in the region’s labor force and entrepreneurship ecosystem;
• Attending industry conferences worldwide and attracting employers to the Capital Region;
• Providing technical services to local manufacturers operate more efficiently and tap into new markets so they can employ more workers.
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