On the surface, New York City and New York state received encouraging unemployment news yesterday.
The jobless rate sunk to 8.9 percent in December, its lowest level in 20 months. The state's unemployment rate also dropped to 8.2 percent, from 8.3 percent in November.
But the decrease had nothing to do with the private sector adding more jobs, according to City Room. It was entirely due to fewer people looking for work, possibly because they didn't like their job prospects.
Data released by the state labor department indicates that private-sector jobs in the city decreased in December, by 3,600 jobs, or 0.1 percent.
Statewide, the story was similar. Though the unemployment rate declined, the number of private sector jobs decreased by 22,600, or 0.3 percent, after adjustments for usual seasonal fluctuations.
Both the Big Apple and New York state boast lower unemployment rates than the national average of 9.1 percent. But unlike the national economy which added more than 100,000 jobs, the city and state ended the year on a deceptively somber note.