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The Strong Finish Of The Local Rochester Economy In 2021

The Rochester-area economy finished 2021 on a strong note, outperforming statewide job growth and unemployment norms once again.

In reality, the regional unemployment rate was lower in December than it had been in any month since 1990, but that’s due in part to a reduction in the number of jobs and persons in the civilian labor force.

Overall, the metro economy has regained most of the ground lost when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in spring 2020, although it has not entirely recovered the jobs it had prior to the pandemic.

The Rochester metro region gained 32,100 jobs, or 6.5 percent, according to state Labor Department figures on nonfarm employment in December compared to a year earlier. The statewide rise was 4.4 percent. Since September, when the metro economy added 22,400 nonfarm jobs, or 4.6 percent, the rate of growth has been progressively increasing: in October, it was 5.1 percent, and in November, it was 5.3 percent. The figures are not adjusted for the season.

In December, the Rochester region surpassed New York in terms of private-sector job growth, with 7.3 percent compared to 5.2 percent statewide. The rate of rise has accelerated in recent months, as it did in nonfarm employment: September (5.3 percent), October (5.6 percent), and November (5.7 percent) (5.9 percent).

Each monthly job growth brings the local economy closer to its pre-pandemic level, but there is still a gap. In December, total nonfarm employment increased to 526,000, up from 441,700 in April 2020, when the COVID lockdown was in effect. However, there are roughly 19,000 fewer jobs than in December 2019, when 544,800 were registered.

The situation is similar in the private sector. Although it increased to 444,767 in December from 369,733 in April 2020, it is still down from 458,830 in December 2019.

The unemployment rate has reached an all-time low.

In December, the metro unemployment rate was 2.9 percent, down from 6.7 percent a year earlier. The rate was 3.7 percent in November, compared to 6% in November 2020.

According to figures from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Rochester-area jobless rate fell below 3% for the first time in more than 30 years last month. However, the current tight employment market is largely due to a long-term fall in the number of persons in the labor force—with a substantial, short-term drop when the pandemic began.

The unemployment rate in Monroe County was 3% in December, down from 7.1 percent in December 2020. Livingston County had a rate of 2.6 percent in December, Ontario County had a rate of 2.6 percent, Orleans County had a rate of 3.1 percent, Wayne County had a rate of 2.7 percent, and Yates County had a rate of 2.4 percent.

The December unemployment rate in California was 5%, while the national average was 3.7 percent.

The Labor Department uses the data of the Current Population Survey, which contacts roughly 3,100 homes in New York each month, to compute local unemployment rates. The information is preliminary and has not been adjusted for seasonality.

The prognosis for 2022

In 2021, the US economy increased at a rate of 5.5 percent, the highest annual growth rate in nearly 40 years. In 2020, the first year of the epidemic and the first economic downturn since the property and financial meltdown in 2008, the decline was 2.3 percent.

A deluge of pandemic-relief cash provided by Washington to U.S. households, combined with record low borrowing prices, helped to fuel the remarkable rise last year. In addition, the federal government stated today that wages and salaries increased by 4.5 percent last year. Since the BLS began collecting data two decades ago, this is the largest annual rise.

However, much of the stimulus money has already been spent. With inflation at its highest level since the early 1980s, the Federal Reserve has indicated that higher interest rates are on the way. (Inflation-adjusted growth in the United States is still lagging behind pre-COVID norms, according to the New York Times.) Both of these variables have the potential to impede growth.

Furthermore, COVID continues to hold the United States, as it does the rest of the world. The Delta and Omicron varieties, as well as the related supply-chain disruptions, have caused fewer disturbances to the regional economy than the nation as a whole, and new daily-case numbers are gradually dropping. Nonetheless, the epidemic has the potential to change the economy’s trajectory in the coming months.

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