February 13 2023

Unemployment in Capital Region Falls to Lowest Level in 30+ Years

Capital Region unemployment last year fell to its lowest level in more than three decades, according to a Center for Economic Growth analysis of New York State Department of Labor data.

Preliminary data shows the eight-county region’s 2022 unemployment rate was 2.9 percent. Before last year, the lowest the region’s lowest unemployment had been 3.5 percent in 2000. Contributing to the lower unemployment rate was a smaller labor force, which stood at 549,108 in 2022. While that was a 1.3 percent increase from the previous year, it marked a 1.5 percent decline from the pre-pandemic total of 557,400 in 2019.

In 2022, the region averaged 6,283 UI beneficiaries per month, a 56.7 percent decline from the previous year and an 83.1 percent decline from 2020’s record total of 37,167. The average annual duration that workers spent collecting UI also declined from 17.2 months in 2021 to 16.4 months last year. The pre-pandemic, five-year average duration was 15.3 months.Eight sectors averaged fewer UI beneficiaries in 2022 than before the pandemic in 2019. Among them, were retail trade (-32), wholesale trade (-30), and manufacturing (-19). In contrast, arts, entertainment and recreation (+399) and accommodation and food services (+374) had the greatest surpluses of UI beneficiaries, when compared to 2019.

The occupations with the greatest shortage of UI beneficiaries since 2019 were those in the life, physical and social sciences (-168). Occupations in construction had the greatest surplus (+208).


CEG Initiatives

To help Capital Region manufacturers and software firms overcome these labor force challenges, especially in regard to filling mid-skill positions, CEG serves as the group sponsor for several  apprenticeship programs for the following trades:


  • Brewer/Distiller
  • Cloud Engineer
  • CNC Machinist
  • Computer Support Technician
  • Data Analyst
  • Electro-Mechanical Technician
  • Industrial Manufacturing Technician
  • Machinist
  • Software Developer (inactive since 2020)
  • Welder (Industrial)

Fifteen companies have signed onto CEG’s apprenticeship programs, including Electro-Metrics Corporation, Espey Mfg. & Electronics Corp, Frog Alley Brewing, GlobalFoundries, Jenks Machine and Tool Company, Plug Power, Tech II, Velan Studios and Wolfjaw Studios. Outside of apprenticeship, CEG’s workforce programs include Certified Production Technician program at SUNY Schenectady, the Manufacturing Technology Bootcamp at Hudson Valley Community College, and access to online manufacturing education with ToolingU.


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