Counties with the highest unemployment in New York

Written by:
February 9, 2024
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Counties with the highest unemployment in New York

While today's unemployment rates are significantly lower than the COVID-19 pandemic peak of 14.7% experienced in April 2020, the fear of job losses remains as workers stare down an uncertain economic future.

Experts are mixed in their views of a potential recession. The return of student loan payments, continually high gas prices, persistent inflation, and insurance price escalations are just a few of the factors that could limit consumer spending and potentially prompt another recession. The last economic recession before the pandemic—the Great Recession of 2007-09—sent unemployment rates up to 10% as of October 2009, and a full recovery took years.

But as of January 2024, the national unemployment rate remains relatively low at 3.7%—unchanged from the previous month and up slightly from January 2023. Regional and state employment varies widely depending on local economies. Seasonally adjusted unemployment rates by state demonstrate a rather sizable spectrum, ranging from just 1.9% in Maryland to 5.4% in Nevada.

Stacker compiled a list of counties with the highest unemployment rates in New York using Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Counties are ranked by their preliminary unemployment rate in December 2023, with initial ties broken by the number of unemployed people within that county, though some ties may remain. County unemployment rates are released about a month behind the national numbers. County-level unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted.

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#50. Yates County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.9%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.6 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.8 percentage points
- Total labor force: 11,756 people (459 unemployed)

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#49. Genesee County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.9%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.5 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.8 percentage points
- Total labor force: 30,243 people (1,184 unemployed)

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#48. Sullivan County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.9%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.4 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.9 percentage points
- Total labor force: 38,123 people (1,488 unemployed)

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#47. Schenectady County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.9%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.4 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.0 percentage points
- Total labor force: 79,630 people (3,123 unemployed)

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#46. Ulster County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.9%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.4 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.1 percentage points
- Total labor force: 88,395 people (3,444 unemployed)

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#45. Orange County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.9%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.3 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.1 percentage points
- Total labor force: 191,580 people (7,430 unemployed)

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littlenySTOCK // Shutterstock

#44. Onondaga County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.9%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.5 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.0 percentage points
- Total labor force: 228,486 people (8,843 unemployed)

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#43. Tioga County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.0%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.7 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.0 percentage points
- Total labor force: 22,277 people (881 unemployed)

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#42. Clinton County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.0%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.7 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.9 percentage points
- Total labor force: 35,484 people (1,422 unemployed)

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#41. Wayne County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.0%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.8 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.0 percentage points
- Total labor force: 43,526 people (1,743 unemployed)

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#40. Seneca County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.1%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.7 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.0 percentage points
- Total labor force: 14,874 people (610 unemployed)

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#39. Washington County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.1%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.6 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.0 percentage points
- Total labor force: 27,564 people (1,131 unemployed)

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#38. Monroe County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.1%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.3 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.0 percentage points
- Total labor force: 365,576 people (15,130 unemployed)

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#37. Chenango County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.2%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.7 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.0 percentage points
- Total labor force: 21,938 people (917 unemployed)

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#36. Cayuga County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.2%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.7 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.1 percentage points
- Total labor force: 35,878 people (1,498 unemployed)

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#35. Oneida County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.2%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.5 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.8 percentage points
- Total labor force: 99,603 people (4,205 unemployed)

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#34. Greene County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.3%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.2 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.1 percentage points
- Total labor force: 20,578 people (880 unemployed)

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#33. Livingston County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.3%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.9 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.2 percentage points
- Total labor force: 30,479 people (1,313 unemployed)

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#32. Madison County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.4%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.9 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.0 percentage points
- Total labor force: 33,683 people (1,492 unemployed)

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#31. Erie County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.4%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.5 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.1 percentage points
- Total labor force: 446,936 people (19,577 unemployed)

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#30. Queens County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.4%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.3 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Down 0.1 percentage points
- Total labor force: 1.1 million people (50,224 unemployed)

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#29. Schoharie County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.5%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.8 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.6 percentage points
- Total labor force: 15,161 people (688 unemployed)

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#28. Chemung County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.5%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.5 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.0 percentage points
- Total labor force: 34,701 people (1,549 unemployed)

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#27. Steuben County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.5%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.7 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.9 percentage points
- Total labor force: 41,142 people (1,863 unemployed)

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#26. New York County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.5%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.2 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.4 percentage points
- Total labor force: 920,448 people (41,578 unemployed)

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#25. Orleans County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.6%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.8 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.0 percentage points
- Total labor force: 17,191 people (796 unemployed)

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#24. Franklin County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.6%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.7 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.0 percentage points
- Total labor force: 18,912 people (875 unemployed)

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#23. Warren County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.6%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.7 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.0 percentage points
- Total labor force: 31,415 people (1,460 unemployed)

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#22. Richmond County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.6%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.4 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Down 0.2 percentage points
- Total labor force: 224,850 people (10,313 unemployed)

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#21. Essex County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.7%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.7 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.0 percentage points
- Total labor force: 16,652 people (783 unemployed)

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#20. Delaware County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.7%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.8 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.1 percentage points
- Total labor force: 18,493 people (870 unemployed)

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#19. Otsego County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.7%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.0 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.1 percentage points
- Total labor force: 26,795 people (1,263 unemployed)

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#18. Broome County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.7%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.8 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.2 percentage points
- Total labor force: 82,655 people (3,898 unemployed)

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#17. Chautauqua County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.8%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.7 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.9 percentage points
- Total labor force: 55,986 people (2,694 unemployed)

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#16. Niagara County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.8%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.7 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.1 percentage points
- Total labor force: 98,843 people (4,731 unemployed)

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#15. Allegany County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.9%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.1 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.8 percentage points
- Total labor force: 20,256 people (985 unemployed)

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#14. Herkimer County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.9%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.0 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.9 percentage points
- Total labor force: 27,345 people (1,350 unemployed)

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#13. Cattaraugus County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.9%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.7 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.9 percentage points
- Total labor force: 34,336 people (1,671 unemployed)

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#12. Wyoming County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 5.0%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.1 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.3 percentage points
- Total labor force: 17,493 people (869 unemployed)

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#11. Fulton County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 5.0%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.7 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.1 percentage points
- Total labor force: 22,862 people (1,141 unemployed)

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#10. Cortland County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 5.0%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.0 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.1 percentage points
- Total labor force: 23,679 people (1,190 unemployed)

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#9. Montgomery County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 5.1%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.7 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.0 percentage points
- Total labor force: 22,778 people (1,163 unemployed)

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#8. Oswego County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 5.1%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.9 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.0 percentage points
- Total labor force: 54,180 people (2,742 unemployed)

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#7. St. Lawrence County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 5.2%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.0 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.2 percentage points
- Total labor force: 43,469 people (2,279 unemployed)

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#6. Schuyler County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 5.3%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.2 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.4 percentage points
- Total labor force: 7,949 people (420 unemployed)

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#5. Jefferson County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 5.4%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.9 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.1 percentage points
- Total labor force: 44,368 people (2,406 unemployed)

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#4. Kings County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 5.4%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.3 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.2 percentage points
- Total labor force: 1.2 million people (65,355 unemployed)

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#3. Lewis County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 5.6%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.5 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.2 percentage points
- Total labor force: 11,999 people (673 unemployed)

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#2. Bronx County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 6.6%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.5 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Down 0.3 percentage points
- Total labor force: 596,809 people (39,687 unemployed)

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#1. Hamilton County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 7.4%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.2 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.5 percentage points
- Total labor force: 2,098 people (156 unemployed)

This story features data reporting by Paxtyn Merten and is part of a series utilizing data automation across 50 states.

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