’We still have some issues:’ expert explains real reasons for drop in north country jobless rates

WWNY ’We still have some issues:’ expert explains real reasons for drop in north country jobless rates

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - New unemployment numbers are out and at a first glance, they look promising. But, dig a little deeper and it shows New York state still has a lot of work to do.

As the country continues to open up, unemployment rates are beginning to drop.

Those rates in Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties have all dropped almost 3 percent from August to September.

But, this is only a small glimpse of the bigger picture.

“You know, we can say wow, this is good, but have we turned a corner? I am going to say no and we still have some issues,” said Cheryl Mayforth, The WorkPlace.

One of those issues is the overall unemployment rate for the year, which is still around 10 percent in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties.

Lewis County’s unemployment rate hasn’t changed much but its labor force has shrunk by 700 people

“It’s the same story in all of our counties that our workforce is decreasing, our employed is decreasing, but our unemployed people are going up. Now we also have some other factors,” said Mayforth.

She says some of those factors include a decrease in our population, the issues some parents are having with finding childcare, which is forcing them to stay home, as well as older generations retiring at rapid rates.

So, as all three counties fall below the state average in unemployment in 2020, it may look like we are trending in the right direction.

But, there is still a lot of work to be done.

“We are not out of the woods. And you know with the economy being a very delicate ecosystem, that if we are not careful, we could fall back to April and so we can’t be complacent,” said Mayforth.

Mayforth says she is concerned about the recent uptick in positive COVID cases and hopes it won’t lead to a second shutdown that will hurt our recovering economy.

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