Oswego County’s unemployment rate continued in May to fall back from its historic highs, but the news behind the numbers is less positive.
The jobless rate in Oswego County dropped three-tenths of a percentage point in May, to 9.4%, according to the New York State Labor Department’s monthly employment survey. The jobless rate is the fifth-highest in New York State, but that’s an improvement from just a few months ago, when rates well above 10% gave the county the highest rate in all of Upstate New York.
The unemployment rate fell because fewer people were in the workforce in May. 58,200 people were listed as either working or looking for work in May, down 600 people from the month before and 900 people from May, 2010.
Because people are only counted as unemployed if they are looking for work, the numbers suggest a sizable number of people quit looking. There were declines in the numbers of people listed as employed and as unemployed.
The poor jobs picture is concentrated in the state’s North Country. Most northern counties have rates in the mid-8% to high 9% range.
Statewide, a Labor Department official said that the state is in a slow but steady recovery that could take a long time. Nearly half of the jobs lost during the recent recession have come back, the official said.