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January 4, 2002

Recession takes toll in New York, but is less severe than in 1990

So far, New York's economy appears to be handling the current national recession better than it did in 1990.

The latest seasonally adjusted jobs numbers through November show that since the recession began in March, New York had lost 117,500 jobs, or 1.3 percent of its pre-recession base. That's higher than the nation's loss, which has been 0.9 percent for the same period.

But it compares favorably with the last recession, during which New York lost jobs at almost three times the national rate (and then continued to lose jobs for two years after the national economy turned around).

These results "suggest that the improvements that Governor Pataki and the Legislature have made in the state's business climate over the last seven years are paying off for New York's economy," said Business Council President Daniel B. Walsh. "Despite everything, we are weathering this one better than the last time around."

New York State's job losses so far seem to have been mainly in New York City, epicenter of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, and thus may be related more to the aftermath of that attack than to the recession proper. Through September, the state's job loss rate in the recession had been only 0.3 percent, the same rate as the nation's for that period.

As of November 2001, New York City's job count was 82,500 lower than in November of 2000. But Long Island and the northern suburbs were still slightly ahead of where they had been the year before. And upstate was down only about 1,100 jobs from the year before, or about three one-hundredths of a percent.

Regular updates on the latest employment figures for New York State-and on how this recession is impacting the state, compared to the last one-are available from The Council's research affiliate, The Public Policy Institute, at www.ppinys.org/nyecon/stats.pdf.