City’s Unemployment Rate Reaches 10 Percent

New York City’s unemployment rate has climbed to 10 percent, equaling the highest level it reached during the last recession, even as employers continue hiring at a healthy pace.

The 10 percent recorded last month was previously set in September 2009, holding steady through February 2010. it was last higher 19 years ago, in June 1993, when it was 10.1 percent, said James P. Brown, principal economist for the State Labor Department. two months ago, in May, the city’s unemployment rate was 9.7 percent.

The disparity between the jobs tally and the rising unemployment rate continues to confound economists like mr. Brown. normally, when the survey of employers shows steady hiring for several months as it has this year, the unemployment rate declines. but the trend in the unemployment rate, which is derived from a survey of households, suggests that most of the jobs being created are going to commuters who live in the suburbs.

“It does appear to be indicating that the city residents are not fully participating in the job growth we’re seeing,” mr. Brown said.

Labor union officials have said the bigger problem is that most of the new jobs are in industries that pay low wages, like retailing and janitorial work. these officials have been pushing for several months in Albany for an increase in the state’s minimum wage, which has been $7.25 an hour since 2009.

but mr. Brown said the pattern was not so simple. While retail stores, hotels and restaurants have been hiring steadily this year, some high-paying fields have been helping to lead the recovery from the recession.

“Some of the biggest gains are coming out of professional service industries,” he said. “That’s not what one would think of as low wage.”

Still, he said, the growth has not been as broad-based as policy makers should hope for. Some important fields, including construction and Wall Street, have remained weak. Given the frequency of announcements of cutbacks from big banks – Morgan Stanley said Thursday that it would eliminate more than 4,000 jobs – mr. Brown said he expected employment on Wall Street to be flat or lower for the rest of 2012.

Statewide, the unemployment rate also rose in June, to 8.9 percent from 8.6 percent in May. State officials attributed that increase to a surge of job-seekers re-entering the work force.

City’s Unemployment Rate Reaches 10 Percent


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