ALBANY – New York’s unemployment rate went up to 14.5 percent in April, according to recently released numbers from the New York State Department of Labor.
The State Department of Labor called April the “largest monthly employment drop on record.” Nationally, the unemployment rate for April was 14.7 percent.
“We went from about 50,000 calls on a maximum per day at the Department of Labor dealing with unemployment calls to a high of 8 million calls a day now averaging about three million calls,” said New York State Budget Dir. Robert Mujica.
Mujica said when the pandemic began, the state had a staff of 500 people to deal with claims. That number then bumped up to over 3,000 and is now 7,000. He said the state hired five outside contractors to “staff up quickly.”
“We’ve gotten $10 billion out the door, so we now have over two million New Yorkers. So 100 percent of full-time employees are New York State workers. The vast majority of the private contractors are using New York State employees,” he said.
The largest hit sector has been leisure and hospitality. The virus has also taken a toll on small businesses. On Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced additional state assistance.
“New York State is starting its own small business relief program working with private banks. We have over $100 million available to make loans to small businesses,” he said.
Cuomo said the priority will be for minority and women owned businesses with 20 or less employees and less than $3 million in revenues.