Unemployment in Oswego County took a sudden turn upwards in December, making 2012 the second-worst in more than 20 years for those looking for work.
The New York State Labor Department reported that unemployment in the county shot upwards, from 9.5% in November to 11% in December.
While that’s not good — 300 fewer people were working in December than in November — much of the increase was fueled by people returning to the job market.
Unemployment measures only people who have jobs and people who are actively looking for work. So the 900-person increase in those listed as unemployed is a sign that more people have begun to look for work again.
The county’s 11% rate was the second highest in the state, to the 11.9% rate in the Bronx.
For the year, average unemployment finished at 10.59%. That’s the second-highest annual average since 1990 and marks the fourth straight year of very high unemployment rates.
Rates in the county have stayed in the 10 to 11% range for four years. The jobless rate began to rise sharply beginning in November, 2008, crossing the 10% mark in January, 2009 for the first time in 16 years.
The jobless rate was slightly lower in the first four months of 2012 than in 2011, providing some hope that the area was beginning to recover from the worst national economic downturn since The Great Depression. But rates were slightly higher year-to-year in the final eight months.
Statewide, the jobless rate edged down one-tenth of a percentage point, to a seasonally-adjusted 8.2%. “The New York State economy closed out the year with 34,300 private sector jobs added in December and 123,200 added to the state’s economy in 2012. In addition, the state’s unemployment rate continued its downward trend in December,” said Bohdan M. Wynnyk, Deputy Director of the Division of Research and Statistics in a news release.