ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Unemployment rates in New York and in the country grew exponentially during 2020, related to the COVID pandemic. It caused businesses to shut down, subsequent layoffs, and put record numbers of people out of work.

Year-over-year unemployment rates have dropped across the Capital Region from July 2020 to July 2021, based on the latest report from the New York State Department of Labor (DOL). Last year’s report shows the July 2021 unemployment rate is still higher in all but one local county.

The July 2020 unemployment rate in Albany County was 10.6%. However, preliminary calculations show the July 2021 rate (5.0%) is less than the pre-pandemic rate in July 2019 (6.2%), something no other local county can boast.

July 2021 unemployment rates in Rensselaer and Saratoga counties are close to 2019. In 2019, the rate in Rensselaer County was 3.2% and in 2021, it was 4.9%. In Saratoga County, the rate was 3.9%, and in 2021, it was 4.2%.

Columbia, Greene, and Schoharie Counties had the lowest unemployment rates among 11 Capital Region counties in 2019, 1.0%, 0.9%, and 0.7% respectively. Fast forward to 2021, rates in those counties are several times higher, 4.2%, 5.6%, and 5.0% respectively.

County unemployment rates in July

DOL July 2020 & July 2021 unemployment report

In July 2019, the unemployment rate in New York (4.2%) was only slightly higher compared to the national average of 4.0%. This did not hold true in the following years when the state’s unemployment rate was 4.3% higher than the national average in July 2020 and 1.7% in July 2021.

State and national July unemployment rates

New York4.214.87.4
United States4.010.55.7
DOL July 2020 & July 2021 unemployment report

Pandemic-related unemployment benefits are no longer available but it’ll be another two months before the DOL releases the September preliminary unemployment report, the first that could show rates affected by the end of these benefits.

The DOL calculates area unemployment rates using a method assigned by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and results of the Current Population Survey which include information from about 3,100 households in the state each month. Check out the DOL’s July 2020 and July 2021 unemployment reports below.