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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • Southern Tier’s jobless rate soars

  • The local unemployment rate skyrocketed in December, and it’s expected to go even higher as the region feels the full effects of the layoffs at Sikorsky in Big Flats.??

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  • The local unemployment rate skyrocketed in December, and it’s expected to go even higher as the region feels the full effects of the layoffs at Sikorsky in Big Flats.??
    The combined December unemployment rate in Chemung, Schuyler and Steuben counties was 9.8 percent, up from 8.7 percent in November and 8.6 percent in December 2011. The last time the local unemployment rate was at least 9.8 percent was February 2012, when it was 9.9 percent.??
    Local labor analyst Christian Harris said the increase was not connected to the layoffs at Sikorsky, which announced in the fall it was shuttering its Big Flats facilities, costing 575 people their jobs. An unspecified number of people are still working as the company winds down operations.??
    “The elevation of the unemployment rates over the month is basically a regular seasonal occurrence,” Harris said. “I hate to say it, but the Sikorsky layoff s still loom large for our local statistics. Those ??separations weren’t scheduled until the end of December and into 2013, and (they) will most likely impact our January 2013 statistics forward.”??
    Harris noted jobs have been lost locally in just about every business sector.??
    “These smaller cutbacks in multiple sectors are pushing our unemployment rates upward,” he said.??
    The tri-county unemployment rate hasn’t been below 7.9 percent since 2008, when the global economy unraveled, sparking a deep recession. Since the beginning of 2009, Chemung County’s lowest unemployment rate was 7.5 percent (three times in 2010), Steuben’s was 8.6 percent (August 2011) and Schuyler’s was 6.6 percent (August 2011).

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