he national unemployment rate has been hovering around the 8 percent mark, but in the city it has consistently been above 9 percent since July 20111 and stood at 10 percent in June 2012.2 While both the country and the
city have certainly experienced recessions as well as high unemployment in the past, factors that make the recent recession unique are both the magnitude of job loss as well as the length of sustained high unemployment. For example, after the recession of the early 1990s New York City’s unemployment rate averaged over 10 percent in 1992 and 1993, then fell to 8.8 percent in 1994.3 However, for each of the last three years the city’s unemployment rate has averaged over 9 percent, and unless it comes down
by the end of 2012 we may be in for a fourth year of the annual unemployment rate being at or above 9 percent. New York City is currently in the longest stretch of annual unemployment rates at or above 9 percent since 1976.