New York City’s unemployment rate rose back above 9 percent at the start of 2013, even though the city started the year with more jobs than it had ever had, according to reports released on Thursday.
The reports, including a revised view of the job markets in the city and state in 2012, pared down some of the mystery of the city’s stubbornly high unemployment rate. They also indicated that the city has been adding jobs at a faster pace than previously estimated.
With the final revisions for the year complete, the State Labor Department said that the private sector in the city added nearly 85,000 jobs in 2012. That brought the total number of jobs in the city to 3.94 million, the highest on record, said Barbara Byrne Denham, a private economist who analyzes the Labor Department figures each month.
“This suggests that employment could easily top four million in 2013,” said Ms. Denham, of Eastern Consolidated, a real estate services firm in Manhattan.
The new calculations also chopped back the unemployment rates for 2012. During the year, the city’s unemployment rate shot up to a high of 10 percent, even though a separate survey of employers indicated that they were steadily adding jobs.
The results of the monthly surveys of employers and city residents do not always line up neatly, but rarely do they produce as wide a discrepancy as they did last year. Their divergence confounded economists and irritated Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and other elected officials as it persisted month after month.
Upon further review, the Labor Department has concluded that the city’s unemployment rate rose no higher than 9.5 percent last year and fell back to 8.8 percent by the end of the year. The official statistics also show more city residents were employed than in previous reports, shrinking the discrepancy some more.
“These revisions certainly help straighten out the confusion that existed before,” said James A. Parrott, chief economist for the Fiscal Policy Institute.
That recovery still looks spotty, though. In January, the city’s unemployment rate rose again, to a four-month high of 9.1 percent from 8.8 percent in December. That rise came despite a gain of about 19,000 jobs, after adjusting for the usual seasonal fluctuations in hiring and firing, Ms. Denham said.
The increase more than made up for the city’s loss of more than 11,000 jobs after Hurricane Sandy struck in late October, Ms. Denham said.
James P. Brown, principal economist for the Labor Department, noted that the rise in the unemployment rate was caused by an increase in people looking for jobs, rather than a lot of job losses. It left the city’s unemployment rate significantly higher than the national rate for January, which was 7.9 percent.
The statewide unemployment rate also rose in January, to 8.4 percent, from 8.2 percent in December.
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