Central NY’s New Unemployment Numbers Are… Interesting
What does this mean for Oneida County's economy?
New unemployment numbers from the New York State Labor Department shined an intriguing light on Central NY.
According to the NYS Labor Department, the Utica-Rome area is seeing a shrinking unemployment rate. The region's updated rate stands at 3.3 percent, which is a .2 percent decline from this time last year.
However, June's number is also higher than last month's findings. In May 2023, the Utica-Rome unemployment rate stood at 3.1 percent, meaning the area saw a .2 percent climb over the following month.
Breaking things down further
The recent NYS Labor Department's numbers are a mixed bag of information about our local economy.
For example, the non-farm employment count rose by 1,500 new hires over a 12-month period, which is a boost of 1.2 percent. In that same time period, private sector jobs jumped by 1.2 percent, or by 1,100 new hires.
The private education and health services sectors hired about 900 new employees over the year. While there was growth in sectors like government, manufacturing, financial activities and both leisure and hospitality - some sectors lost ground.
Professional and business services lost about 300 jobs while information shed about 100 positions.
In all, Oneida County's overall unemployment rate of 3.3 percent landed us in 37th place out of all the other counties in New York State. That number is also tied with Herkimer and Lewis County.
Nearby Madison County ranked 31st, with a to 3.2 percent unemployment rate.
How does NY compare on a national level?
In all, New York's overall job growth is outpacing the rest of the continental United States. A new survey from WalletHub found the Empire State is one of the states where unemployment claims are decreasing the most.
In all, NY placed 13th in the roundup of all 50 states and the District of Columbia - outpacing nearby Connecticut (25th), Pennsylvania (39th), New Jersey (41st) and Massachusetts (45th).
New York saw unemployment claims fall by 38.1 percent since last week, which is the second highest number behind South Carolina, which saw their weekly jobless claims fall by a whopping 54.7 percent.
Overall, this means our local and state job market is in good shape despite record-high inflation and supply chain issues.
What does this mean for the local economy?
Local economists are cautiously optimistic about these latest numbers, especially since they come on the heels of the Federal Reserve hiking interest rates to a 22-year high this week.
The Fed rose interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point on Wednesday in its ongoing fight to cool inflation. This is the 11th hike since March 2022.
Current inflation rates are about a percentage point higher than the Fed's 2 percent target.
However, the decision comes as interest rates beginning to slow and stall compared to the peak from last summer. Additionally, the Fed kept the door open for future rate hikes, with a possible revision coming in September.
The overall goal is to slow down the economy by targeting consumer demand, which remains high. By doing so, the Fed hopes this will bring the costs of goods and services down from their 40-year high and put money back in Americans' pockets.
But the decision also has an impact on the consumers' bottom line.
This new hike in interest rates puts an additional financial burden on those who borrow money to pay things like mortgages, car loans and credit cards.
Meaning, those who are pursuing higher education could see higher loan rates. This also goes for residents who are about to purchase a new car or home.
When it comes to the latter, the average 15-year and 30-year fixed mortgage rate rose to a respective 6.59 percent and 7.34 percent - per data from CNET.
This decision also impacts credit card holders with variable interest rates. The current average is over 20 percent, which is an all-time high, and the new rate-hike could push that number even higher.
WalletHub predicts the move will cost credit card holders roughly $1.72 billion in interest charges over the next 12 months.
Will Central NY see a recession?
Luckily for us, the Fed predicts the U.S. will avoid a recession this year.
Economists say the strong unemployment numbers are reducing the possibility of a potential recession. In all, job growth is boosting the economy and helping it stay resilient.
Still, there remains a degree of uncertainty over what the future holds. Because of that, Fed exes say they aren't "optimistic" about the economy, but say they are creating "a pathway to a soft landing."