County’s Jobless Rate Lower Than a Year Ago. Analyst: ‘Recovery Has Begun’

Unemployment rose a bit in Oswego County in May, but an analyst says there are signs that a statewide economic recovery has begun.

The unemployment rate rose to 9.2% for the county in May, up two-tenths of a percentage point from April. The number of county residents who had a job stayed the same at about 54,600, while the number listed as unemployed rose 100, to 5,500 over the month.

But the jobless rate is lower than it was a year ago, when it stood at 9.6% and was heading for near-record highs.

“For the first time since the recession began, things are better than they were last year,” said Roger Evans, Principal Economist with the New York State Labor Department in Syracuse. “I would call this a clear sign that our recovery has begun.”

The unemployment rate for the 3-county Syracuse area, which includes Oswego County, dropped a bit as employers in Onondaga and Madison counties added jobs during May. Most of those jobs were in year-round fields such as health care and education, seasonal occupations such as construction and tourism, or temporary jobs such as Census workers.

The statewide jobless rate stayed even at 8.1%.

Another possible sign of improvement is the strong decline in the number of people receiving regular and emergency unemployment benefits in the state. 541,792 people received regular or emergency unemployment benefits during a given week in May, down more than 33,000 from April but up about 30,000 from May, 2009. The number of people receiving extended benefits, for those who have run out of regular and emergency benefits, rose more than 11,000 during the month.