The two-week strike by unionized employees of Verizon offset all of the hiring that occurred last month in New York City and pushed the city’s unemployment rate up slightly, according to figures released Thursday by the State Department of Labor.
The city’s official unemployment rate rose to 8.7 percent in August from 8.6 percent in July, as the total number of jobs declined, the department reported. Even discounting the strike, the city’s job market remained weak at the end of the summer as fears of another recession spoiled some employers’ appetites for new workers.
Without the strike by 8,700 Verizon workers, the city’s private-sector employment would have fallen by 4,500 jobs, after adjustments for the usual seasonal trends in hiring and firing, said Barbara Byrne Denham, an economist with Eastern Consolidated, a real estate services firm in Manhattan. Countering those losses — in jobs, if not in incomes — was a gain of about 4,900 government jobs in the month, she said.