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New York’s Increasing Unemployment Rate Poses Challenge for Cuomo

Author : neha

Updated : August 2nd, 2018

Though the nation’s jobless rate has been falling over the last year, New York State’s has been growing abruptly, giving a challenge to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo as he attempts to build an image as a economic centrist who can change the state’s business climate.

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Over the last 12 months, New York has been the only state with a statistically significant increase in its jobless rate, as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. From August, the state’s rate had ascended to 9.1% from 8.2% when Mr. Cuomo took office in January 2011, a reversal of the national trend, as said by the federal household survey.

In every corner of the state, there are trouble spots. In the Bronx, the unemployment rate is about 14%. Along Lake Ontario, the rural Orleans County, lessening manufacturing jobs and government payrolls have pressed unemployment to more than 11%. In St. Lawrence County, in the northern Adirondacks, the rate is also 11%.

The Cuomo administration, supported by some economists, argues that New York’s economic picture is more precisely reflected by other, more positive data. They point to a federal payroll study that illustrated New York doing well, relatively speaking – with jobs increasing by 1.4% over the last 12 months, an above-average rate. Initial unemployment compensation claims have also been dropping.

“Simply relying on the household unemployment survey does not paint an accurate or complete picture of job creation in New York State because the sample used in that survey is inadequate,” said Richard Bamberger, a spokesman for the governor.

“Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, jobs are being created at the fastest rate in four years, and the proof is in the numbers,” he added, citing falling unemployment claims. “New York has regained all of the 324,000 private-sector jobs lost in the recession,” Mr. Bamberger said.

But for a governor often discussed as a 2016 presidential candidate, the rising unemployment rate, which is based on a national review of households, could be the statistic that prompts a thousand political ads if the trend lasts – Mr. Cuomo’s potential opponents, after all, are improbably to highlight the contradictory economic data.

“Certainly, this would come under scrutiny if he ever ran for president,” said Don Dutkowsky, an economist and professor at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. “But there is a sense that he’s taking hold of some real challenges and trying to move forward, and that’s something we wouldn’t mind seeing on the national stage either.”

Unemployment data from the national household survey has become of a fetish in the present presidential race. Mitt Romney had attacked President Obama for failing to bring down the national unemployment rate below 8%; it did fall to 7.8% in September.

Unemployment rates in New York have increased in the last 12 months

Economists provided a range of theories about the causes that jobless and payroll numbers diverged in New Your City, statewide and, to a lesser extent, in parts of the Northeast. There are prominent variations between the surveys: the jobless data is based on a household survey that reaches the self-employed and people who work in agriculture, but the payroll survey is not. Some said the unemployment survey had limitations, mainly the relatively small number of people interviewed — about 2,330 in New York State.

Others dismissed those concerns and said the numbers needed to be carefully observed.

“It’s something to keep an eye on,” said David Hitchcock, the primary New York State analyst for Standard & Poor’s.

But he said he was encouraged by data displaying ongoing private-sector job growth. Standard & Poor’s has an AA rating for New York — Mr. Hitchcock called that an “average rating for the average state” — and also a positive outlook.

“It’s not good if the unemployment rate goes up,” he said.

“But if it looks like a temporary thing and private-sector job growth is continuing,” he added, “one would hope it would level off and come down again. If it doesn’t, then I think there’s something more fundamental going on.”

According to Marisa DiNatale, an economist at Moody’s,  the jobless numbers might miss some downstate population growth, while the more positive payroll numbers “seem to be supported by other economic data coming out of the state that looks pretty good.”

“Certainly the economy has slowed in New York, and the pace of job growth has slowed,” she said.

And James A. Parrott, chief economist at the labor-backed Fiscal Policy Institute, said: “Unemployment is still a problem, but it’s not as bad as the unemployment rate suggests.”

“The recovery is not as strong as it could be,” he said, adding that much of the job growth has come in low-paying industries, like retail, restaurants and home health care.

Two senior officers at the New York Federal Reserve Bank, in a blog item posted on the Fed’s Website last month that concentrated on the New York City economy, explored and dismissed a few probable descriptions for the divergence between the joblessness and payroll data.

“While there are several potential explanations, the stagnation of resident employment remains largely a puzzle,” wrote Jason Bram, a senior economist, and James Orr, an assistant vice president in the regional analysis group.

“There seems to be no single overriding explanation for the gap between the two employment measures,” they added. “Other indicators of the city’s economy are indicating a healthy recovery, particularly the low office vacancies and rising rents.”

Mr. Cuomo has talked often of the prominence of job creation and financial development, but he has been in office less than two years, so the effect of some of his initiatives may not yet have been fully felt. He has governed as a fiscal centrist, defending laws that forced a cap on property tax increases and lowered pension benefits for new state workers. This month, he has been directing bus trips around the state to show off monetary development projects getting state aid.

But he has his work cut out for him. While the state budget is finally coming under control after years of outsize shortfalls, a growing fiscal crisis among New York’s municipal governments is possibly to put the state under stress. Last week, the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan research group, graded New York last amongst the 50 states for its business climate, while the conservative Cato Institute gave Mr. Cuomo a “D” grade in evaluating his tax and spending record.

In a radio interview previous week, Governor Cuomo’s top aide, Lawrence S. Schwartz, said the reports were “more based on ideology and not facts,” adding that the groups “took a bunch of data sets and manipulated them to fit their worldview.”

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  1. I applied for unemployment on 8-1 and was approved. I received my letter of eligibility and debit card about a week ago. I did not file my intitial bi weekly claim because I missed the deadline by 1 day (didn’t realize they would be closed on Saturday). When I logged on it said I would have to reopen a claim because mine had been closed. I filled out the online form to deactivate the claim. My question is this: will I have another waiting week? And will unemployment have to contact my employer all over again to verify my wages and go through the entire process all over again or will they just reopen the claim with a new date window to file?

  2. Lost my job in 10/2018 due to plant closure, collected vacation and severance pay. Opened a claim in 1/2019. Got an on the job training job through career link in 5/2019 worked one week and became very sick and was off for two weeks VA could not find anything wrong but gave me medication for the symptoms and an excuse to return to work, prior to returning got a call from my recruiter at career link telling me the position was filled so i did not return. Reopened my claim, a few weeks later got a letter informing me the employer had appealed and said i did not return, had a hearing and the employer did not show but i lost and got a 2500.00 over payment. Got a temp job through an agency but have only worked 4 days in two weeks. Reopened my claim and was told i need to earn 2604.00 from current employer before it can be opened, did i do something wrong? Still applying for work but am days away from losing everything, need income to pay bills. PLEASE HELP

    1. Rodney,

      Your eligibility to claim UI benefits depends on multiple factors including monetary eligibility. If you’ve been officially told about the shortage of earnings, there’s nothing much one can do. If you’re still confident of winning the appeal, please make a strong case.

      1. I live in KY but my base wages were from earnings in GA when I lived there. I’ve exhausted my benefits in KY. Am I able to now file through GA since my earnings through 10/18 came from there?

        1. Dee,

          As much as I am aware, Unemployment Insurance is a one time cycle. Please call the Unemployment Office in GA for more.

  3. The hours at work have been cut due to lack of business for every department.
    So all full-time positions are now part-time.
    How do I file for partial unemployment?
    The only options I see (in Texas) are for full unemployment.

    1. Eric,

      You should be able to claim partial UI benefits. Please consider applying online until full hours are restored.

    1. William,

      If everything goes well, it should not take more than 7-10 business days (waiting week). Please call the Claims Center for more.

  4. I was employed by a VA company for 5 years, my contract ended yesterday (07/31/19), however, I worked remotely for those 5 years and live in FL, which state do I apply to for my unemployment benefits?

    1. Oscar,

      Please check with your employer if they remitted UI taxes into the system. Contract workers are generally not eligible.

        1. Oscar,

          In that case, please go ahead and apply if your employer remitted UI taxes into the system.

    2. You apply in Virginia…however, I worked seasonally and they used a ‘quarter’ that was empty, so even though my employer paid in, I only got a 1/3 of what I should have received. Figured that out later :/ They will also question WHY you aren’t able and available to work IN Virginia. They froze my account for about a month.

  5. I worked 37 years with the same company in Texas. On July 2nd of 2018, I was let go due to workforce reduction. I signed up for benefits several months later and now have drawn my 26 weeks of benefit. Is there any program currently open in Texas or federally that will extend additional money while job seeking?

    1. Lonnie,

      The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

  6. I have been an employee of my company for 34 yrs. My position is being eliminated but I have been offered another position for less money. It is a much more physical job that I am not sure I can perform well. I am 75. If I try to fulfill the position and cannot do it, will I still be able to get benefits if I quit? They want me to try it for a couple of weeks to see if I am strong enough and if I can afford the cut in pay.

    1. Lynda,

      I suggest you call the Unemployment Office to find out about eligibility before making a decision on continuation.

      1. I recently lost my job..i was late for work and they took me off the schedule..never told me i was fired..didnt ask for uniforms back. Another cook was andd has been late for work and he didnt get taken off the schedule.can i still get unemployment?

        1. Kandie,

          Please note UI benefits are only offered to claimants who lose employment due to no fault of their own. You can call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  7. Are there any training benefits or programs that will pay for an advanced degree, such as a PhD which is needed to become more employable?

    1. There are multiple training programs administered by the Labor Department in each state. For more info, please call visit the official website of the Unemployment Office.

  8. I’m about to exhaust my Unemployment benefits. I was laid off from my first job and
    found employment then I lost my job and became unemployed again. I applied for benefits and have have almost exhausted my benefits but have not found employment. Can I file for an extension?

    1. Deanna,

      The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

  9. After reading your article it’s still not clear to me about requirements surrounding moving to another state and completing/continuing to collect. I have 8 weeks eligibility left, I am moving from MA to FL. The end of your article says: “Since it’s all virtual (online), you may still consider the option of continuing your claims from the base state even if you move to a different one until completion. As a responsible claimant, it’s your duty to inform the base state about your movement to ensure there are no hassles in the near future.”

    So it sounds like even once I am in new state I am eligible to continue to collect from my base state. I can just continue to do my required weekly job search and reporting to and filing in my base state (I do it via phone call-in). No need to complicate things by doing some crazy state transfer of benefits. Benefits also done via direct bank deposit and no need to change anything. Do I even need to tell my base state I am now living in a new state? Why? Thank you.

    1. Paul,

      For the ease of understanding, each state has its specific rules and laws with regard to administering Unemployment Benefits. It might be an obligation for a claimant to inform about the movement. For clarification, please call the Unemployment Office and speak to a representative.

  10. I was recently fired from my work 25-June-2019/due to me not meeting their “standards/ expectations” i submitted my UE claim on 28-June and have not received any pay as of today, 19-July. The status is currently “adjudication in progress,” my question is, should i be worried this will be denied? I read the FAQ on the UE webpage and it said only a couple applications require the adjudication process. How long does this process usually take to get the final answer of whether I’m denied or approved? The website stated it susuallt takes ~25 days for the adjudication process, does this mean once that’s done then i still have to wait another 2-6 weeks for final processing after? THANK YOU SOO MUCH to whomever is able to provide me with some answers/ input.

    Sincerely,
    Talia
    ** this is my first time ever being fired or having to file for unemployment so i really have nooooo idea what is standard or normal or whatever. I feel like an idiot with my simple questions but it would bring me so much relief having them answered, truly

    1. Talia,

      I can understand your reason for the anxiety. Adjudication is a fact-finding process where both the claimant and the employer will get an opportunity to present their case. During this process, make sure to produce supporting documents that amplify your stance. For all you know, the adjudication can be a lengthy process.

      Best Wishes!

  11. I was permanently severanced from my job due to a Co. Reorg & received my last severance pay last week. I called UE & was told that I should now do my application online since I will no longer be getting funds & still without a job & that this coming Sunday regardless of knowing if I will or will not get benefits yet that I should still file a weekly claim in case of UE back pay.
    So my question is, do I still have to report 4 jobs applied to within this week, even if I do not know if I will be approved/denied for benefits until possibly next week anyway?

    1. Lynda,

      You should continue to report the job applications as long as you’ve been asked to do so. There will be a “Waiting Period” and the first payment will take about 7-10 days after which they’ll flow much quicker. Please call the Claims Center for clarification.

  12. I tried to transfer from one state to another. When I left Montana I was told there would be no problem transferring. When I arrived in North Carolina I had trouble reaching the area manager by phone. When he finally called me back he said to meet him for lunch to discuss when and where I would be working. He did not show up for lunch. Then he never returned any of my calls. I went PA to visit a friend a few weeks later and tried there. I met with the hiring manager and was told there should not be a problem doing the transfer since I was still in the system. I called the store a few times and they said it was still pending. Then I was terminated without even a phone call. Am I eligible for unemployment and if so do I file in Montana or North Carolina. I still have a Montana drivers license but I am living in NC.

    1. Stacey,

      As long as you were unemployed involuntarily, you should be able to claim UI benefits. Please consider applying.

  13. I have worked for 32+ years and recently have become unable to work due to health reasons, so I have had to resign from my job. I have contacted SS and will be able to apply for disability but it will take awhile to process. Can I apply for unemployment benefits? I live in WV.

    1. Sandra,

      UI benefits are only extended to claimants who lose their employment due to involuntary reasons. Please reach out to the Unemployment Office for more.

  14. I had to quit my job at Walmart in Fairmont West Virginia and moved back to my home state ky, I’ve got a son with drug problems and 3 older sisters that are not doing so well in health cause of their age. I didn’t understand about the transfer part they had at Walmart that I could put a date when I could start back because of my car problems I thought when I left I had to go in like in s few days, I’ve applied here at Walmart in Winchester ky 40391 two times already plus dollar store, speedway, truck stop, bp, a few other places it’s been going on 7 months without a job I live with my son and its getting harder on him paying rent and utilities and food, not to mention our personal hygiene stuff I really need help I have no income coming in to help him and his wife out I get foodstamps and Medicaid I was praying I could qualify for unemployment PLEASE HELP!!!

    1. Vicky,

      I can understand your situation. Unfortunately, UI benefits are only extended to claimants who lose employment due to involuntary reasons. Please call the Unemployment Office for further clarification.

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