Unemployment in Albany drops

Charles Wims

Metro Albany's unemployment rate appears to be on the decline but it may still be a while before some people looking for work see a change in the job market.

Charles Wims has been out of work for nine months. "Ain't no work out here," said Wims. "Because people are out trying to find a job but you still ain't getting no help."

Despite new numbers that show metro Albany's unemployment rate dropped to 10.1 percent compared with 10.8 percent a year ago, Wims says he can't count the number of doors he's had slammed in his face. "Now you're feeling bad because you're out there and trying to find a job and these people in here are turning you down," Wims added.

The unemployment rate dropped because 1,700 new jobs were added to the local economy.

Economist Aaron Johnson is encouraged. "We've seen some improvement in manufacturing activity across the state, particularly," said Johnson. "As far as where the most of the job growth is here in Albany is service-providing."

Rises in the costs of certain agricultural commodities and the construction of the East Albany WalMart have contributed to the area's job growth. "Even though it's not opening until May, there's other economic activity that's tied to that," said Johnson.

Even with an improving economy, it may be a while before some of Albany's unemployed are able to find work, especially those without the kinds of skills employers value most. "Typically, we don't see a decline in that segment of the population until there's a true high economic expansion, which we have not seen the late nineties," said Johnson.

Johnny Arnold is trying hard to stay optimistic. "I understand it may not come by day or overnight but I just got to get out there and look," he said.