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Recent Labor Market Developments

Unemployment Rates (not seasonally adjusted) for Utica-Rome MSA (Oneida and Herkimer Counties)

                                                                           July 2013: 7.4%

                                                                          June 2013: 7.6%

                                                                           July 2012: 8.6%

The unemployment rate in the Utica-Rome MSA decreased from 8.6 percent in July 2012 to 7.4 percent in July 2013. This marks the fifth consecutive month of over-the-year improvements in the jobless rate.  From September 2007 through February 2013, the jobless rate never declined from the previous year.  (The current unemployment rate series began in 1990.)

The jobless rate declined slightly from June 2013.  From June to July, in the past 10 years, the unemployment rate declined 5 times, rose 2 times and remained unchanged three times.

The unemployment rate is expected to decline significantly from July to August, as seasonal industries such as construction and leisure and hospitality continue to add workers.  From July to August, in the past 10 years, the unemployment rate declined 9 times and remained unchanged once.  

 

Change in nonfarm jobs since June 2012

For the 12-month period ending July 2013, the nonfarm job count in the Utica-Rome metro area rose 900, or 0.7 percent, to 130,300, its highest July level since 2010.  Private sector employment fared better, increasing by 1,300 jobs from a year ago, reaching its highest July level since 2008.        

Job gains occurred in trade, transportation and utilities (+1,200), leisure and hospitality (+600), other services (+400) and education and health services (+100).  In trade, transportation and utilities, job gains occurred in retail trade (+800) and transportation, warehousing and utilities (+400).

Job losses were posted in government (-400), manufacturing (-400), financial activities (-200), professional and business services (-200) information (-100) and natural resources, mining and construction (-100).

Job losses in government occurred in federal government (-200), state government (-200) and local government education (-100).  Local government administration rose 100.

Trade, transportation and utilities is at its highest July level since 2008.  Education and health services is at its second highest July total on record.  Leisure and hospitality is at its highest July level since 2001.  Other services is at its  highest July level since 2001.  (This data series began in 1990.)

Manufacturing, information, and financial activities are at their lowest July level on record.  Natural resources, mining and construction is at its lowest July level since 1996.  Professional and business services is at its lowest July level since 1994.  Government employment is at its lowest June total since 2002.  (This data series began in 1990.)

                                                  Focus on the Mohawk Valley
                                              Seasonality in the Mohawk Valley

                              by Mark Barbano, Labor Market Analyst, Mohawk Valley

What is seasonality? While it impacts many economic series, it is difficult for many people to understand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics defines seasonality as a “pattern that more or less repeats itself each year, although this pattern may … change … over time.

Many factors contribute to seasonality, including weather conditions, holidays (e.g., Christmas, Easter), annually scheduled calendar events (e.g., the beginning and end of the school year) and dates set by law (e.g., tax filing deadline). Seasonality helps to explain why your home’s heating costs rise in the winter, why demand for turkey increases in November and why it is difficult to find a winter coat in July.

What Goes up…

Benjamin Franklin once said that the only things certain in life are death and taxes. Although death may not be seasonal, the preparation of tax returns certainly qualifies. Accounting, tax preparation and bookkeeping jobs in the Mohawk Valley jumped from 658 in the fourth quarter of 2011 to 888 in the first quarter of 2012, an expansion of 230, or 35%! It is one of the few industries that typically grows in the first quarter of the year. Dominant occupations in this industry include accountants and auditors, bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks and tax preparers.

As the Mohawk Valley gets warmer in the second quarter each year, the job count picks up as a number of seasonal industries spring forward. In 2011, construction added over 1,000 jobs, or a gain of 26%, from the first to the second quarter. Another 700 jobs were gained in the third quarter. Highway, street and bridge construction employment doubled from the first to second quarter, as work crews repave and fix roads that were decimated during the region’s long winter.

Accommodation and food services employment rose almost 1,600 or 13% between the first and second quarters of 2011. Employment peaked in the third quarter, after gaining another 600 jobs, or 4.5%. Seasonal hiring in hotels, motels and restaurants in summer destinations such as Sylvan Beach, Old Forge, Cooperstown and the Turning Stone Casino and Resort help boost tourism’s contribution to the region’s economy.

Arts, entertainment and recreation is one of the most seasonal industries in the region. This is demonstrated by the 57% increase in jobs (+983) between first quarter and second quarter 2011. Employment peaked in the third quarter, after growing by gaining another 879 jobs, or 33%. Job gains were centered in amusement and theme parks, such as Enchanted Forest/Water Safari in Old Forge, and golf courses and country clubs found throughout the region.

Must Come Down…

Most of the seasonal industries mentioned above decline sharply after Labor Day. In 2011, from the third quarter to the fourth quarter, construction dipped 8% (-448), accommodation and food services fell 8% (-1,205) and the arts, entertainment and recreation industry fell 43% (-1,541). All of these industries continue to lose jobs and hit their annual employment trough in the first quarter of the year.

Accounting, tax preparation and bookkeeping jobs show a different trend. It peaks in the first quarter, drops sharply in the second quarter, continues to fall slightly in the third quarter and stays at that level in the fourth quarter.

Summary

A better understanding of seasonality helps us to appreciate its impact on our monthly job figures. Like most regions, the job count in many Mohawk Valley industries fluctuates from quarter to quarter, often due to some of the seasonal factors outlined in this article.

For details on the Mohawk Valley regional economy, visit www.labor.ny.gov/stats/moh/.

Information compiled by the Labor Market Analysts of the
Division of Research and Statistics
New York State Department of Labor
Mohawk Valley Regional Office
(315) 793-2282

This entry was posted on Thursday, February 16th, 2012 at 4:39 pm and is filed under Labor Market Information. You can subscribe to any comments to this entry via RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.