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County’s Jobless Rate Falls A Bit, As People Leave The Job Market

Unemployment in Oswego County remains among the highest in the state.

The August unemployment rate stood at 9.2% in figures released by the state Labor Department. That’s down from 9.5% in July. The number of people listed as unemployed fell by 200 during the month, but so did the number of people listed as employed. In other words, the improvement in the jobless numbers was due in part to people leaving the job market entirely. 61,300 people were part of the job market in July, listed as either employed or unemployed. 60,900 — 400 fewer people — were part of the job market in August.

When people stop looking for work, they are listed as neither employed or unemployed.

The county’s jobless rate was the third-highest in Upstate New York (all five of the boroughs of New York City reported rates equal to or higher than Oswego County’s rate). Only St. Lawrence and Steuben counties had higher rates of unemployment.

Statewide, the jobless rate hit 9% in August, the highest jobless rate in 26 years. The state has lost more than 167,000 jobs in the last year. Take out strong hiring by governments and the total private sector job loss is more than 200,000.

“Our latest labor market report indicates that employers in New York State cut jobs at a more modest pace than employers nationwide and our statewide unemployment rate remained below the nation’s rate. However, the number of unemployed New Yorkers in August reached its highest recorded level,” said Peter A. Neenan, Ph.D., Director of the Division of Research and Statistics of the State Labor Department.

The data shows another sign of the length and severity of the employment problem. The numbers of people on regular unemployment insurance fell by about 18,000 from July to August. Regular unemployment insurance is paid for 26 weeks. But the numbers of people receiving payments from the extended unemployment program or the jobless payments program that’s part of the 2008 stimulus package, each of which runs for 20 weeks, shot up by about 29,000 during the month.

That indicates that people are spending more and more time out of work.