Special Report

How New York's Job Market Compared to the US Over the Last 47 Years

New York | The skyline of New York City, United States
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In an era of economic uncertainty, the U.S. job market remains resilient. After falling to 3.7% in November 2023, the national unemployment rate has been below 4% for 22 consecutive months, the longest streak in over 50 years.

Of course, if history is any guide, much of the economy is subject to boom and bust cycles — and the job market is no exception. Since the mid-1970s, the average annual unemployment rate in the U.S. has fluctuated between 3.6% and nearly 10%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

These same cyclical patterns are also evident in New York, where the job market is supported largely by the professional and scientific and retail trade industries. The annual unemployment rate in the state was 4.3% in 2022, only slightly higher than the state’s lowest recorded annual jobless rate of 4%. However, conditions for job seekers have not always been so favorable.

According to historical BLS data going back to 1976, the annual jobless rate has been as high as 10.2% in New York. More than once, unemployment in the state has either matched or come close to that peak.

This is how New York’s job market has changed in each of the last 47 years.

1976: 10.2% unemployment

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  • Avg. unemployment rate: 10.2% (7.7% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 58.0% (61.6% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 785,190

1977: 9.1% unemployment

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  • Avg. unemployment rate: 9.1% (7.1% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 58.4% (62.3% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 708,963

1978: 7.8% unemployment

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  • Avg. unemployment rate: 7.8% (6.1% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 59.2% (63.2% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 605,062

1979: 7.2% unemployment

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  • Avg. unemployment rate: 7.2% (5.8% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 60.2% (63.7% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 566,880

1980: 7.5% unemployment

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  • Avg. unemployment rate: 7.5% (7.1% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 59.9% (63.8% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 592,293

1981: 7.6% unemployment

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  • Avg. unemployment rate: 7.6% (7.6% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 59.8% (63.9% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 606,976

1982: 8.5% unemployment

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  • Avg. unemployment rate: 8.5% (9.7% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 59.4% (64.0% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 694,495

1983: 8.7% unemployment

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  • Avg. unemployment rate: 8.7% (9.6% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 59.5% (64.0% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 715,247

1984: 7.2% unemployment

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  • Avg. unemployment rate: 7.2% (7.5% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 59.4% (64.4% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 585,605

1985: 6.6% unemployment

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  • Avg. unemployment rate: 6.6% (7.2% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 60.7% (64.8% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 550,074

1986: 6.2% unemployment

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  • Avg. unemployment rate: 6.2% (7.0% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 61.4% (65.3% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 522,519

1987: 4.9% unemployment

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  • Avg. unemployment rate: 4.9% (6.2% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 61.6% (65.6% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 408,560

1988: 4.3% unemployment

Source: AlbertPego / Getty Images
  • Avg. unemployment rate: 4.3% (5.5% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 61.9% (65.9% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 361,395

1989: 5.0% unemployment

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  • Avg. unemployment rate: 5.0% (5.3% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 62.9% (66.5% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 421,904

1990: 5.3% unemployment

Source: Jacob Boomsma / iStock via Getty Images
  • Avg. unemployment rate: 5.3% (5.6% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 62.7% (66.5% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 469,514

1991: 7.2% unemployment

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  • Avg. unemployment rate: 7.2% (6.8% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 62.0% (66.2% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 638,519

1992: 8.6% unemployment

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  • Avg. unemployment rate: 8.6% (7.5% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 62.0% (66.4% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 760,689

1993: 7.9% unemployment

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  • Avg. unemployment rate: 7.9% (6.9% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 61.7% (66.3% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 692,475

1994: 6.9% unemployment

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  • Avg. unemployment rate: 6.9% (6.1% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 61.3% (66.6% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 601,815

1995: 6.3% unemployment

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  • Avg. unemployment rate: 6.3% (5.6% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 61.1% (66.6% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 549,842

1996: 6.2% unemployment

Source: AlbertPego / Getty Images
  • Avg. unemployment rate: 6.2% (5.4% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 61.8% (66.8% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 548,964

1997: 6.4% unemployment

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  • Avg. unemployment rate: 6.4% (4.9% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 63.1% (67.1% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 578,175

1998: 5.6% unemployment

Source: Jacob Boomsma / iStock via Getty Images
  • Avg. unemployment rate: 5.6% (4.5% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 63.1% (67.1% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 508,618

1999: 5.2% unemployment

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  • Avg. unemployment rate: 5.2% (4.2% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 63.0% (67.1% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 472,336

2000: 4.5% unemployment

Source: ChrisBoswell / iStock via Getty Images
  • Avg. unemployment rate: 4.5% (4.0% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 62.8% (67.1% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 413,004

2001: 4.8% unemployment

Source: ChrisBoswell / iStock via Getty Images
  • Avg. unemployment rate: 4.8% (4.7% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 62.3% (66.8% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 445,991

2002: 6.1% unemployment

Source: DebraMillet / iStock via Getty Images
  • Avg. unemployment rate: 6.1% (5.8% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 63.1% (66.6% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 576,533

2003: 6.4% unemployment

Source: ChrisBoswell / iStock via Getty Images
  • Avg. unemployment rate: 6.4% (6.0% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 62.6% (66.2% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 593,856

2004: 5.8% unemployment

Source: AlbertPego / Getty Images
  • Avg. unemployment rate: 5.8% (5.5% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 62.7% (66.0% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 543,880

2005: 5.0% unemployment

Source: GummyBone / iStock via Getty Images
  • Avg. unemployment rate: 5.0% (5.1% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 63.0% (66.0% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 469,312

2006: 4.5% unemployment

Source: Jacob Boomsma / iStock via Getty Images
  • Avg. unemployment rate: 4.5% (4.6% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 63.0% (66.2% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 429,417

2007: 4.6% unemployment

Source: Art Wager / iStock via Getty Images
  • Avg. unemployment rate: 4.6% (4.6% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 62.6% (66.0% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 422,736

2008: 5.4% unemployment

Source: ChrisBoswell / iStock via Getty Images
  • Avg. unemployment rate: 5.4% (5.8% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 63.1% (66.0% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 519,829

2009: 8.3% unemployment

Source: ChrisBoswell / iStock via Getty Images
  • Avg. unemployment rate: 8.3% (9.3% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 62.9% (65.4% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 810,105

2010: 8.6% unemployment

Source: DebraMillet / iStock via Getty Images
  • Avg. unemployment rate: 8.6% (9.6% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 62.6% (64.7% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 839,690

2011: 8.3% unemployment

Source: ChrisBoswell / iStock via Getty Images
  • Avg. unemployment rate: 8.3% (8.9% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 61.6% (64.1% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 796,090

2012: 8.5% unemployment

Source: AlbertPego / Getty Images
  • Avg. unemployment rate: 8.5% (8.1% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 61.7% (63.7% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 827,516

2013: 7.7% unemployment

Source: GummyBone / iStock via Getty Images
  • Avg. unemployment rate: 7.7% (7.4% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 61.6% (63.2% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 752,157

2014: 6.3% unemployment

Source: Jacob Boomsma / iStock via Getty Images
  • Avg. unemployment rate: 6.3% (6.2% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 60.7% (62.9% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 598,239

2015: 5.3% unemployment

Source: Art Wager / iStock via Getty Images
  • Avg. unemployment rate: 5.3% (5.3% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 60.7% (62.7% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 500,530

2016: 4.9% unemployment

Source: ChrisBoswell / iStock via Getty Images
  • Avg. unemployment rate: 4.9% (4.9% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 60.6% (62.8% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 464,155

2017: 4.7% unemployment

Source: ChrisBoswell / iStock via Getty Images
  • Avg. unemployment rate: 4.7% (4.4% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 60.8% (62.9% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 455,420

2018: 4.1% unemployment

Source: DebraMillet / iStock via Getty Images
  • Avg. unemployment rate: 4.1% (3.9% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 60.6% (62.9% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 401,914

2019: 4.0% unemployment

Source: ChrisBoswell / iStock via Getty Images
  • Avg. unemployment rate: 4.0% (3.7% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 60.7% (63.1% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 379,452

2020: 10.0% unemployment

Source: AlbertPego / Getty Images
  • Avg. unemployment rate: 10.0% (8.1% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 59.0% (61.7% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 935,358

2021: 6.9% unemployment

Source: GummyBone / iStock via Getty Images
  • Avg. unemployment rate: 6.9% (5.3% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 59.4% (61.7% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 671,757

2022: 4.3% unemployment

Source: Jacob Boomsma / iStock via Getty Images
  • Avg. unemployment rate: 4.3% (3.6% nationwide)
  • Labor force participation rate: 60.2% (62.2% nationwide)
  • Unemployed population in New York: 411,168

Source: 24/7 Wall St.

Year New York unemployment rate U.S. unemployment rate Unemployed population in New York
1976 10.2 7.7 785,190
1977 9.1 7.1 708,963
1978 7.8 6.1 605,062
1979 7.2 5.8 566,880
1980 7.5 7.1 592,293
1981 7.6 7.6 606,976
1982 8.5 9.7 694,495
1983 8.7 9.6 715,247
1984 7.2 7.5 585,605
1985 6.6 7.2 550,074
1986 6.2 7.0 522,519
1987 4.9 6.2 408,560
1988 4.3 5.5 361,395
1989 5.0 5.3 421,904
1990 5.3 5.6 469,514
1991 7.2 6.8 638,519
1992 8.6 7.5 760,689
1993 7.9 6.9 692,475
1994 6.9 6.1 601,815
1995 6.3 5.6 549,842
1996 6.2 5.4 548,964
1997 6.4 4.9 578,175
1998 5.6 4.5 508,618
1999 5.2 4.2 472,336
2000 4.5 4.0 413,004
2001 4.8 4.7 445,991
2002 6.1 5.8 576,533
2003 6.4 6.0 593,856
2004 5.8 5.5 543,880
2005 5.0 5.1 469,312
2006 4.5 4.6 429,417
2007 4.6 4.6 422,736
2008 5.4 5.8 519,829
2009 8.3 9.3 810,105
2010 8.6 9.6 839,690
2011 8.3 8.9 796,090
2012 8.5 8.1 827,516
2013 7.7 7.4 752,157
2014 6.3 6.2 598,239
2015 5.3 5.3 500,530
2016 4.9 4.9 464,155
2017 4.7 4.4 455,420
2018 4.1 3.9 401,914
2019 4.0 3.7 379,452
2020 10.0 8.1 935,358
2021 6.9 5.3 671,757
2022 4.3 3.6 411,168

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