Signs of Hope in June’s Jobless Rate, Despite Increase

Unemployment rose in Oswego County in June, and the jobless rate remains among the state’s highest. Even so, there is some hopeful news in the numbers.

“We’ve started to see some over-the-year job growth,” said Karen Knapic-Scalzo of the state Labor Department’s Syracuse office.

The county’s jobless rate for June stood at 9.5%, up from 9.2% the month before. A year ago, it was 9.8%.

“We’re doing better than we did a year ago, but last year was a very rough year,” Knapic-Scalzo said. “So we are improving over the year, but we still have a long ways to go.”

The county’s jobless rate went up despite some solid increases in the number of people working. The number of people listed as having a job rose by 800 during the month, to 55,300. The number of people listed as unemployed also rose, to 5,800 from 5,500. A person is unemployed only if he is looking for work.

Taken together, the numbers show that more people entered the job market in June, a sign of optimism among job seekers that they might find a job soon.

“We’re at the beginning stages of a recovery in the local job market,” she said.

The three-county Syracuse area, which includes Oswego, Onondaga and Madison counties, recorded a two-tenths of a percentage point increase in unemployment, to 7.8%. The statewide jobless rate, seasonally adjusted, fell a tenth of a point.

Oswego County’s jobless rate is the fifth highest in the state, topped by two counties and two boroughs of New York City. St. Lawrence County’s 10.1% unemployment rate is the highest north of New York City.

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