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Queens Chronicle

Queens reaches lowest jobless rate in 5 years

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Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 11:25 am, Thu Feb 6, 2014.

The unemployment rate in Queens last month fell below 7 percent for only the second time in five years.

The state Department of Labor said on Tuesday that the unemployment rate here in December was 6.7 percent. That compares to 7.9 percent in December 2012.

The city as a whole and the nation saw similar improvements, while the state marked an even better one, with the jobless rate falling 1.6 percentage points over a year.

The last time the unemployment rate in Queens was below 7 percent was last April, when it dropped to 6.9 percent, according to state figures. And the last time before that was December 2008, when it was 6.2 percent.

After that the effects of the recession drove joblessness upward, with the rate peaking at 9.6 percent in January 2010.

Labor analysts always say year-to-year comparisons are the ones to watch, rather than month-to-month, because of seasonal factors. Annual comparisons show last month’s unemployment rate to be a notable improvement over the last several years — but still nowhere near as good as it was before the recession.

In December 2011, the unemployment rate here was 8.1 percent. In December 2010 it was 7.9 percent and in December 2009 it was 8.9 percent.

But the December figures were much better in 2007 and 2006, when they were 4.3 and 3.8 percent, respectively.

About 1,067,800 people in Queens had jobs last month, compared to 1,044,500 in December 2012, another sign of progress.

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