Onondaga County Unemployment Rates Rise above NY State Level – CB Garrett

Between 2010 and 2016 the unemployment rate in Onondaga County only fell below the New York State rate one time, but as the calendar flipped to 2017, spent three months below the state line and another right at the line. This includes the most recent month (November 2017); the first month since 2010 where the Onondaga County unemployment rate rose, despite the state unemployment rate falling. At 4.3%, the year to date unemployment in Onondaga County up slightly from November 2016, where it stood at 4.3%.

Comparing Onondaga County Unemployment to NY State

While the graph above shows that there has been a general decline in the unemployment rate in both the county and the state it is interesting to see that the state and county unemployment rates go in opposite directions over the announced month.

At this point it seems more indicative of the health of the state labor market, but it will be interesting to track over the next several months. There has been a general trend over the last decade where unemployment begins to rise — relatively speaking — around November as many summer jobs end until reaching peak unemployment for the year in May. Even though it is early in this cycle, the state unemployment rate has been able to buck this trend, falling to 4.5% in November 2017.

One of the biggest factors to track in unemployment is the rise in minimum wage across the state that took effect in the new year. This raised the state minimum wage over $10 and even higher in parts of the state, such as in the city, as well as for large businesses. The interesting part to track is whether this has a positive or negative effect on employment. Will increased motivation for workers to find jobs due higher wages lead to lower unemployment, or will employers have to lay-off more employees to reach the desired costs. As minimum wage hikes are already in place in New York State through 2021, with an eventual goal of reaching a $15 dollar minimum wage across the state, it is definitely worth keeping an eye out for.