Job expert 'astounded’ as north country unemployment rates near pre-pandemic levels

Job expert 'astounded’ as north country unemployment rates near pre-pandemic levels
(Source: MGN)

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The north country’s unemployment numbers are close to where they were last year at this time - and that was well before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Cheryl Mayforth, executive director of The WorkPlace, said she was “astounded” by the figures. She said it’s possible the numbers are so low, in part, because more people have stopped looking for jobs.

The state Labor Department released its August jobless numbers on Tuesday.

In Jefferson County, September’s jobless rate was 5.4 percent, slightly up from 4.7 the year before.

In August, the unemployment rate was 9.2 percent.

St. Lawrence County’s unemployment rate last month was 5 percent, up from 4.7 percent a year ago.

August’s rate was 8.8 percent.

In Lewis County, 4.5 percent of people were out of work in September, compared to 4.1 percent the year before.

August’s unemployment rate was 7.3 percent.

In April, the first full month of New York’s COVID-19 shutdown, the jobless rate skyrocketed.

At that time, Jefferson County’s rate was 16.9 percent, St. Lawrence County’s was 14 percent, and Lewis County saw 14.4 percent unemployment.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased from 12.5 percent in August to 9.7 percent in September 2020.

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