The unemployment rate in Queens jumped more than a full percentage point from December to January — but that’s to be expected, according to the state Labor Department, which released its figures for the first month of the year this week.
Employment always drops off between December and January, Labor Department economist James Brown pointed out, due to seasonal factors.
“Every January the economy sees significant cutbacks due to post-Christmas layoffs in trade and leisure and hospitality, weather-related job losses in construction and transportation, as well as layoffs of food service workers at colleges and universities because of inter-semester breaks,” Brown explained in an email message.
To get an accurate picture of unemployment, he said, one must compare January 2013 to January 2012. That comparison shows that joblessness in Queens was up slightly, 9 percent this January when it had been 8.8 percent in January 2012.
The ratios were similar for the city and state as a whole. Citywide the rate was 9.9 percent this year, a tenth of a point higher than the year before; while statewide it was 9.4 percent, up three-tenths of a point.
Only nationally was there a January-to-January improvement, as the unemployment rate dropped from 8.8 to 8.5 percent.
The Labor Department noted, however, that 29,600 jobs were added to New York State’s economy in January, for a record 17 months of increases.
The state’s monthly jobs reports and other data are available at labor.ny.gov.