April 25, 2012


County’s March jobless rate drops

Staff Reporter

The county’s economic picture is starting to improve after a brief rise in unemployment rate.
The county’s jobless rate fell in March for the second straight month, according to data released Tuesday by the state Department of Labor.
The unemployment rate fell to 9.3 percent, down 0.8 percent from 10.1 percent in February.
That is slightly higher than the unemployment rate of 9.1 percent in March 2011.
Cortland County had 21,800 employed workers in March, down by 700 workers from a year ago.
Area employers added just over 200 manufacturing jobs and 100 jobs in both the leisure and hospitality industry category and the transportation and utilities category.
The improvement in the number of manufacturing jobs goes against a local trend, said Syracuse-based labor analyst Karen Knapik-Scalzo.
“Manufacturing in Cortland is better than the Syracuse metro area, which is still lagging a bit,” she said.
At the same time, professional and business services, government, as well as education and health industries each lost around 200 jobs last month. There was also a decline of about 100 jobs in natural resources and construction.
The decline in the unemployment rate should continue next month as more seasonal jobs open up, Knapik-Scalzo said.
“We should see a seasonal pick up in construction and tourism-related jobs,” she said.
There were approximately 2,300 unemployed workers in Cortland last month.
The state Department of Labor projects that unemployed workers who file for unemployment insurance after June 25 will only receive 26 weeks of benefits. Under the current regulations, unemployed workers can received up to 93 weeks of unemployment insurance.
Those rules will change for New Yorkers due to the improving employment picture.
The local decline in unemployment figures matches a general trend in New York as the state continues to regain its economic footing from the 2008 recession.
The number of private sector jobs in New York is approximately 7,317,400. That is an all-time high according to the state Department of Labor.
New York lost approximately 325,475 private sector jobs during the recession but regained all of them nearly four years later, said Bohdan Wynnyk, deputy director of the state Division of Research and Statistics.
“What we have recouped now surpasses the total private sector jobs lost during the state’s recession in 2008 and 2009,” he said.
The number of public sector jobs the state lost and regained was not available.
Despite the improved jobs numbers, the state’s unemployment rate remained steady at 8.5 percent.
The biggest employment jumps across the state from February to March came in education and health services, professional and business services, information and construction.
Government and hospitality and leisure industries lost 2,400 and 1,800 jobs, respectively.
Tompkins County is one of six counties in the state with an unemployment rate below 8 percent, with a rate of 6.5 percent.
Despite that low rate, the area has lost 7 percent of its private sector jobs over the last year.
Nationally the unemployment level fell to 8.2 percent in March, down 0.7 percent from last year.


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