Figures released late last week by the state Department of Laborput the December unemployment rate for the city at a seasonallyadjusted 10.6%, its highest in more than a decade and higher thaneither New York State or the nation as a whole. "If you lookclosely at the underlying unemployment rate numbers, the number ofemployed New York City residents was flat in October and November,then fell sharply in December," she tells "This looksrather volatile, which leads me to think that there was a datacollection problem somewhere in there."

Since the state's unemployment forecasts are based on householdsurveys rather than employer reports, Denham thinks the job-lossfigures--i.e. the numbers of positions that were actuallyeliminated--provide a more accurate barometer of the local economicweather. For one thing, she says, the state projections are basedon fairly small samples; for another, some of the surveyrespondents may reverse-commute to the city's western, northern oreastern suburbs, and their job losses do not reflect downsizing bycity-based employers.

State Labor Department figures show that the five boroughs lost67,500 private-sector jobs between December 2008 and December 2009,a 2.1% drop. That's comparable with the rate of job elimination inseveral other metro areas across the Empire State, includingAlbany-Schenectady-Troy, Buffalo-Niagara Falls, Long Island and thecity's northern suburbs, although higher than in some upstateareas.

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Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny is managing editor of Real Estate Forum and He has been reporting on business since 1988 and on commercial real estate since 2007. He is based at ALM Real Estate Media Group's offices in New York City.