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While the New York State and national unemployment rate are doing a bit better, at 7.7 percent and 8.6 percent respectively, a closer look shows that New York City has not fared as well. The unemployment rate for the entire city remained the same at 9.0 percent for October, which is the same rate as it was last year.

“The nation has been adding jobs,” said James P. Brown, economist for the state Department of Labor. The national rate fell by 0.4 percent in November. “There has been a nice pick up in auto industry, but that is not big for New York City.”

A borough by borough breakdown, comparing unemployment rates from the same time last year, shows that Manhattan stayed at 7.5 percent; Queens remained at 8.0 percent. Kings County (Brooklyn) stayed at 9.7 percent.  Only Richmond County — that’s Staten Island — showed some improvement with a drop from 8.2 percent to 7.9 percent. That was all offset by the Bronx’s riveting 12.4 percent unemployment rate, an increase of 0.1 percent. Nowhere else in the state is the unemployment rate as high.

The Bronx, where I live, is a story apart from the whole. “The Bronx has always had a higher unemployment rate than the city,” said Brown, who covers New York City for the state. A higher portion of the population doesn’t have a high school diploma, essential for employment. Also, many have poor language skills or don’t speak English, another essential. Another factor is that many Bronx residents have jobs in manufacturing, construction and the restaurant business. These jobs are seasonal or have high turnover rates, he said.

Clearly, this has not New York City’s year. “We did well in 2010,” said Brown. “Now the national economy is showing some strength.”

But it is not a lot of strength.  Let’s hope for better next year.

Victoria