Orleans unemployment rate falls to 3.1%, lowest in at least 30 years
The unemployment rate was at 3.1 percent in Orleans County in December, which is the lowest rate in at least 30 years.
The county has only dipped below 4 percent a few times in the past three decades:
- During 1990s, Orleans was below 4 percent twice – 3.8 percent in September 1999 and 3.9 percent in October 1999.
- From 2000 to 2009, the rate dipped below 4 percent twice – 3.8 percent in September 2000 and 3.6 percent in October 2000.
- From 2010 to 2019, the unemployment rate was below 4 percent five times – 3.5 percent in September and October 2018, 3.7 percent in November 2018, 3.7 percent in September 2019, and 3.8 percent in October 2019.
- Since 2020, the rate only dropped below 4 percent the past two months – 3.8 percent in November and then 3.1 percent in December.
The state Department of Labor reports about 500 people in the county are on unemployment, the lowest since at least 1990. (Click here to see a database on the labor force in Orleans County since 1990.) There were 1,100 unemployed in December 2020.
The labor force currently totals 16,900 in Orleans County, which is down from 17,200 in December 2020, 17,500 in December 2019, and a drop of 2,000 from the 18,900 in December 2012. Going back to December 2005, the labor force was over 20,000 at 20,100.
During the pandemic, the unemployment rate hit a high of 16.8 percent in April 2020. In 2021, the rate peaked at 7.6 percent in February and has steadily declined from 5.7 percent in July, 5.6 percent in August, 4.2 percent in September, 4.1 percent in October, 3.8 percent in November and 3.1 percent in December.
State-wide the unemployment rate is at 5.0 percent in December, down from 8.5 percent in December 2020. The US unemployment rate is at 3.7 percent in December, down from 6.5 percent in December 2020.
The unemployment rate among the GLOW counties in December includes 2.7 percent in Genesee, 2.6 percent in Livingston, 3.1 percent in Orleans and 3.1 percent in Wyoming.
Among New York counties, the rate is highest in the Bronx at 11.1 percent and lowest at 2.2 percent at Columbia, Saratoga and Tompkins.