Orleans unemployment rate of 4.7% is lowest for February in more than 3 decades

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 March 2022 at 4:56 pm

The unemployment rate for Orleans County was at 4.7 percent in February. That is the lowest for the second month since at least 1990, according to the state Department of Labor’s records that go back to 1990.

The 4.7 percent rate dropped from the 7.1 percent in the county for February 2021. In February 2020, the last month before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the rate was 5.8 percent in Orleans County.

For five years, the unemployment rate in February was above 10 percent with 10.9 percent in February 2013, 10.8 percent in February 2012, 10.7 percent in February 2011, 11.2 percent in February 2010, and 10.7 percent in February 2009.

The 4.7 percent for February 2022 is the only time the county’s unemployment rate was below 5 percent for a February since 1990. That as far back as Department of Labor records go on the DOL website.

The county’s labor force of 17,200 in February also is the smallest in the 32 years of DOL data. It was at a high of 21,600 in February 1998 and last topped 20,000 in 2006 with 20,100. It was at 18,100 in February 2018 and declined to 17,900 in 2019, 17,800 in 2020, 17,100 in 2021 and now 17,200.

The February 2022 data reports the unemployed at 800 and employed at 16,400. A year ago in February 2021, about 11 months into the Covid pandemic, there were 15,900 working in Orleans and 1,200 unemployed.

The unemployment rate in the United States dropped from 6.6 percent in February 2021 to 4.1 percent last month. In the state, the rate went from 9.2 percent in February 2021 to 5.1 percent last month, according to the Department of Labor.

Among the four rural GLOW counties, the rates for February include Genesee at 4.1 percent, Livingston at 4.0 percent, Orleans at 4.7 percent and Wyoming at 4.7 percent.