Because we’re here to work, and make it work…

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March 26, 2009,  NEW YORK TIMES

City Unemployment Rate Reaches 8.1%

By Patrick McGeehan

New York City’s unemployment rate leaped last month to 8.1 percent from 6.9 percent, the biggest jump in any month on record, New York State’s Department of Labor said on Thursday.

The rise ended a long period when the city’s job market was outperforming the nation’s. The city’s unemployment rate is now equal to the national rate.

The city lost 3,600 jobs in February, a month when hiring in tourism-related businesses usually leads to an increase in overall employment. In the previous 10 years, the city had added an average of 18,900 jobs in February.

“The city’s economy continues to weaken month-by-month with over-the-year losses widening dramatically,” said James Brown, an analyst with the Labor Department.

A year ago, the city’s unemployment rate was 4.4 percent. The city’s rate has been much higher in the past — it hit 11.7 percent in 1992 — but it has not risen so much in any month since record-keeping started in 1976. The current rate is the highest for the city since October 2003.

New York State’s unemployment rate also rose sharply in February, to 7.8 percent from 7 percent in January. That was the highest unemployment rate for the state since June 1993. For upstate New York, unemployment is at a 25-year high, said Peter A. Neenan, director of the department’s Division of Research and Statistics.

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