By Debra J. Groom
Oswego County’s unemployment rate was up in November and still is the highest in Central New York.
But for the first time in many months, Oswego County is not one of the top five highest rates in the state.
The jobless rate for November was 8.3 percent, up from 8 percent in October. But it is a vast improvement on the rate from November 2012 of 9.5 percent.
The only county in the area with a higher rate is neighboring Jefferson County, with a November unemployment rate of 9 percent. Jefferson County is the only county north of the Bronx with a rate of 9 percent or higher.
New York counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Tompkins, 4.4 percent; Putnam, 5 percent; Nassau, 5.1 percent; Saratoga, 5.2 percent; and Rockland, 5.3 percent. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are Bronx, 11.2 percent; Jefferson, 9 percent; Kings, 8.7 percent; Hamilton, 8.5 percent; and Orleans, 8.5 percent.
Christian Harris of the state Labor Department’s office in Binghamton said on average, there are about 400 more people entering the jobless market about this time in Oswego County. But in November, only 200 more were unemployed.
He believes the increase in the unemployment rate is due to construction jobs and other seasonal positions coming to an end and these people beginning to look for work.
He said often, the rates about this time of year bounce up and down for a few months.
“If there is a discouraged workforce, they will be jumping in and out of the job hunt,” he said. “We often see this slow growth cycle near the holidays.”
The United States unemployment rate was 6.6 percent in November, down from 7 percent in October and down from 7.4 percent a year ago.
The New York state rate was 6.9 percent in November, down from 7.5 percent in October and down from 7.9 percent in November 2012.