Reduced consumer spending is bringing job losses to the Capital Region.
The unemployment rate in the Albany-Schenectady-Troy metropolitan area jumped to 5 percent in July, from 4.1 percent for the same month a year ago, according to the state Department of Labor.
The increase was caused mostly by employment losses in two fields directly tied to consumer spending and overall economic vigor: retail trade and leisure and hospitality.
"People are buying less stuff, and they're tending to go out less," said James Ross, the department's Capital Region labor market analyst. "That's what you're going to cut back on if you're feeling a financial crunch."
Indeed, the Siena Research Institute's monthly consumer confidence survey has consistently found that New Yorkers -- and particularly upstate residents -- are jittery about spending money when the national economy seems troubled and gas prices are high.
"It's not been easy," said Michael Hoffman, president of Turf Hotels, a Latham company with four Capital Region locations. "We're on the down side of a bell curve, and the economy has been on everybody's mind."
Hoffman said bookings at his hotels have been flat this summer, and he surmised that many in his industry are curtailing hiring as a way to curb expenses.
Gas prices may be hurting hotels, Hoffman said.
And don't get him started on the rainy weather, which he called "atrocious."
The Department of Labor estimated 800 fewer Capital Region hospitality jobs in July than a year earlier, bringing the overall total to 34,700.
In the retail trade, 48,900 people were employed, 700 fewer than a year ago.
Ross said the unemployment rise -- and job losses -- here closely followed national trends. Still, the Capital Region's jobless rate was a full percentage point below the national rate of 6 percent. (The numbers, which attempt to measure the percentage of people not working but making an effort to find employment, are not seasonally adjusted.)
The local rate also was below that of most upstate metros -- though the Glens Falls area, with a jobless rate of 4.9 percent, provided an exception.
The unemployment rate statewide was 5.4 percent, up from 4.9 percent a year ago.
Within the Capital Region, Schoharie County had the highest unemployment rate, at 6.1 percent, and Saratoga County had the lowest, at 4.4 percent.