Steuben Co. unemployment 3.7% for month, state rank improves

Steuben County jobless numbers continue to fall to historic low levels, with June’s 3.7 percent rate tied with six other counties for 34th best in New York state, the Department of Labor reported Tuesday.

Steuben County improved eight spots from May — when unemployment was at 4 percent and the county was ranked 42nd out of 62 in the state.

Steuben County also bested the state and federal unemployment rates, as both were at 3.8 percent last month.

Steuben’s jobless rate was nearly a point higher 12 months ago, in June 2018, at 4.6 percent.

To put the county’s current 3.7 percent jobless rate in perspective, it’s only been equaled once before in the month of June — back in the year 2000. The historic low numbers that year saw 3.4 percent joblessness in October, a rate that has not been duplicated, according to the labor department.

The county’s rebound from the Great Recession has been pronounced.

Steuben County’s June unemployment rate has climbed above 9 percent three times in the previous ten years starting with 9.6 percent in 2009; followed by 9.1 percent in both 2010 and 2012.

Meanwhile, as far as employment numbers go, the total number of employed residents within Steuben County went up by 700 in June and the county’s unemployment ranks decreased by 100 people, according to the Department of Labor. The state reported 41,100 Steuben County residents were employed during the month, while 1,600 people were unemployed.

The Steuben County Labor Market Profile saw gains in total non-farm jobs (39,200, up 200 over 12 months) and private sector jobs (31,300, also up 200 over 12 months), while absorbing a one-month loss in government jobs (7,900, down 200 from May).

The Steuben County jobs picture is not without challenges and there are some concerning factors influencing the low unemployment rate. For one, there was no gains in the number of people employed over the last 12 months. In fact, the Department of Labor shows 100 fewer county residents were employed in June 2019 than were in June 2018. Additionally, the Resident Civilian Labor Force continues to decline. It fell by 500 people over the previous 12 months to come in at 42,700 in June. 

Elsewhere, Allegany County saw little change in its unemployment rate in June, as it came in at 4.7 percent. The rate was 4.8 percent in May but it was nearly a full point higher a year ago at 5.6 percent in June 2018. Only three counties in New York state, St. Lawrence (4.9%), Herkimer (5.1%) and Bronx (5.6%) had higher unemployment rates than Allegany in June.

If there is good news for Allegany County, it’s that it has fewer unemployed residents than it did a year ago, according to the Department of Labor. The number of jobless in June fell more than 18 percent over 12 months, from 1,100 to 900.

The number of employed fell as well in Allegany County, from 18,000 in June 2018 to 17,600 last month.

Livingston County’s June jobless rate of 3.6 percent was the lowest of the three local counties and it ranked 28th best in the state. The only year that Livingston County had a lower June unemployment rate was in June 1990 when it was 3.3 percent.