Buffalo Niagara's jobless rate was 7.9 percent in November, up from 7.5 percent a year ago but still the lowest figure for the region so far this year.
The 7.9 percent rate was the lowest for Buffalo Niagara for any month since November 2011, and it matched the state's rate for November 2012.
The region's jobless rate has declined for four consecutive months this year, since falling from July to August. At the same time, Buffalo Niagara's year-over-year jobless rate has increased for 10 straight months, starting in February.
The state Labor Department notes that the data is not seasonally adjusted, meaning it reflects seasonal influences such as holiday hiring.
For that reason, it says the most valid comparisons are for a year-over-year basis.
Buffalo Niagara's jobless rate remains much higher than it was in 2008, when the annual average was 5.9 percent. Through 11 months this year, the average was 8.58 percent.
Among 11 upstate metro areas, Buffalo Niagara's jobless rate in November was tied for fourth highest with three other regions. Syracuse's rate was the same as Buffalo Niagara's, while Rochester's was lower, at 7.4 percent.
The lowest jobless rate reported in the state was Tompkins County's 5.4 percent. Bronx County had the highest reported rate, at 11.8 percent.
The state's unemployment rate relies partly on the results of a telephone survey of 3,100 households – out of more than 7 million – in the state.
In a separate jobs report, released earlier this month and based on a separate set of data, the state Labor Department said Buffalo Niagara's job count dropped by 1,500 from a year ago.?But some local economists believe the jobs data overstated the scope of the decline and that revised statistics will be released in March 2013 showing the region's job market is stronger than the figures for November indicated.
GRAPHIC: JOBLESS RATE IMPROVES
>> Buffalo Niagara region ?unemployment rate
November 7.9 percent
October 8.2 percent
September 8.4 percent
August 8.8 percent
July 9.0 percent
June 8.8 percent
>> Unemployment rate ?in WNY counties
Allegany 7.6 percent
Cattaraugus 8.2 percent
Chautauqua 8.2 percent
Erie 7.7 percent
Genesee 7.4 percent
Niagara 8.5 percent
Orleans 10.1 percentWyoming 8.4 percent