Home Economy Job market in HV improves in 2012

Job market in HV improves in 2012

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In 2012, New York state’s economy showed signs of life.

New York’s economy has gained 83,500 private sector jobs in 2012, despite losing 29,100 jobs last month due to Hurricane Sandy, according to numbers from the New York State Department of Labor.

Between October and November 2012, the state unemployment rate fell from 8.7 to 8.3 percent. The Department of Labor said that the full impact of Hurricane Sandy may not be reflected in the statistics.

The month-to-month job loss numbers differ from the country, which gained 147,000 jobs between October and November. The 0.4 percent month-to-month decline in unemployment was the steepest since 1976.

From November 2011 to November 2012, New York state’s private sector gained 88,000 jobs, a 1.2 percent increase.

The Putnam-Rockland-Westchester area gained 3,900 jobs, a 0.8 percent increase, ranking seventh among metro areas in the state.

The same tri-county area had a November 2012 unemployment rate of 6.6 percent, down from 6.9 percent in the previous month, but up from 6.4 percent in November 2011. Putnam’s November 2012 unemployment rate was 6.2 percent, good for second in the state, while Rockland’s unemployment rate was 6.4 and third in the state. Westchester was sixth with an unemployment rate of 6.7 percent.

Westchester’s unemployment rate was down from 7.1 percent in October 2012, but up from November 2011’s rate of 6.4 percent.

Over the past year in New York state, professional and businesses services, which include management of companies and enterprises and employment services, gained 55,000 jobs, while educational and health services gained 27,800 jobs. Construction had the biggest loss, losing 17,400 jobs, while manufacturing lost 7,000 jobs. The construction losses were concentrated in specialty trade contractors, losing 12,400 jobs.

In the Putnam-Rockland-Westchester region, over the past year, professional and business services gained 12,400 jobs, while education and health care gained 2,200 jobs. Construction lost 4,300 jobs, while manufacturing lost 800 jobs. Leisure and hospitality gained 600 jobs, while government shed 1,400 jobs.

The Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown region gained 2,500 jobs from November 2011 to November 2012, an increase of 1.2 percent. Month-to-month, the region’s private sector gained 1,800 jobs, a 0.9 percent increase.

Professional and business services increased by 100 jobs, a 0.4 percent increase month-to-month and increased by 800 jobs year-to-year, a 3.6 percent increase. Education and health services gained 1,100 jobs month-to-month, a 2 percent increase, and 1,600 jobs year-to-year, a 3 percent increase.

Manufacturing was flat month-to-month, but increased year-to-year by 500 jobs, or 2.9 percent. Construction lost 100 jobs over the past month, and 300 jobs over the past year, a decrease of 3.4 percent.

Allison Madison, who runs Reinhard-Madison Approach Staffing L.L.C., an employment agency, said that she saw the job market gradually improving, but not at a rate people would like.

“The economy was in such a deep hole,” Madison said. “It’s going to take a long time to dig our way out of it. We are seeing some growth.”

Madison said she noticed more companies hiring full-time employees versus temporary employees, and that more employed people are looking to change careers.

“That’s a good indication, if people have confidence that they can improve their situation,” Madison said. “The job market is warming. It’s not a complete thaw.”

Madison said that a lot of companies were waiting for the election and are now waiting out to see whether Congress can strike a deal before the fiscal cliff.

“Once these issues are resolved, people will at least have a plan of action to make decisions about hiring,” Madison said. “I am optimistic about 2013 being an improvement.”

Larry Gottlieb, director of economic development for Westchester County, said that 2012 was a strong year for Westchester, and that there was job growth in Westchester’s strong areas.

Gottlieb said that Westchester is in a good position to take advantage of an improving economy and predicts that 2013 will be the year of mind and body.

“We will see job growth in areas connected to health care and life sciences,” Gottlieb said. “With the Affordable Care Act and fiscal cliff resolution, this will help people who give financial advice, sell insurance or are involved in the movement of wealth. Professional services will have a resurgence or accelerated growth.”

Gottlieb said many questions still need to be answered if 2013 is to have a better economy with job growth. “The economy is like an amusement park,” he said. “Businesses prefer riding the roller coaster, even with its ups and downs, because you can see and prepare for sudden changes in direction. Businesses hate the haunted house because you are fumbling around in the dark, not knowing what will happen next. We are in a haunted house economy.”

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