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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • Unemployment rate falls in area

  • The local unemployment rate fell slightly in February, a month after reaching a historic high.

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  • The local unemployment rate fell slightly in February, a month after reaching a historic high.
    The combined unemployment rate in Chemung, Schuyler and Steuben counties was 11.0 percent in February, down from 11.2 percent in January. Last month’s local unemployment rate was the highest since at least 1990, the earliest year for which statistics are readily available.
    Labor analyst Christian Harris said last month’s historic high could be attributed to the generally slow economy and the closure of Sikorsky in Big Flats, where 575 people worked as recently as last fall.
    While discussing January’s statistics last month, Harris said it was possible February’s numbers might be worse, but that turned out not to be the case.
    The dip in unemployment was attributed to “slightly better than average seasonal hiring,” Harris said.
    The local unemployment rate remains well off the national and state averages, which in February were 7.7 percent and 8.8 percent, respectively.
    In New York, the highest February unemployment rate was 13.0 percent in Lewis County. The lowest rate was 5.8 percent in Tompkins County.
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