Unemployment rate in Oswego County is second highest in NYS


Gary Wilson Sr. has years of experience working in shipping but instead of moving cargo and inventory he's now focused on sending resumes and job applications. Wilson is not alone - Oswego County's unemployment rate is now at 12%. That's the second highest rate in New York State."Oswego is going though a time I haven't seen in years. Oswego has always been a good place to work but everything changes all the time," said Wilson.

New York State's overall unemployment rate was 8.7%. The only area with higher unemployment than Oswego County is the Bronx. Jeff Grimshaw from the Office of Business and Community Relations says Oswego's economy is very dependent on construction and tourism and the winter months are the worst for both industries.

"I wouldn't say it's any one thing that causes it to happen. It's sort of a die of a thousand cuts sot of concept where you have all these little things come and detract from the ability of employment in Oswego," said Grimshaw.

Grimshaw and others say Oswego workers need to update and retool their skills. Gary Wilson agrees and has been hard at work on new computer skills. Wilson knows he's up against younger workers for some jobs but he's ready to out hustle them and stay ahead of the curve.

"I know to compete nowadays you have to know what you're talking about and what the job entails - so it's a lot of paperwork and a lot of idea thinking," said Wilson.

Staff at Fulton's Workforce Center says more employers have been coming in with job openings in recent weeks and they hope Oswego County will show signs of the economic recovery this spring.

To see the breakdown of unemployment rates by county, click here.

Despite near record unemployment, officials in Oswego County area optimistic for the spring.

February unemployment numbers released earlier this week show Oswego County has the second highest unemployment rate in the state at 12%. Only Bronx County is higher at 12.7%. Although the county's unemployment rate is still high, it's actually down from 12.5% in January.

County officials say this time of the year is particularly bad for unemployment because construction and agriculture are not as active as at other times of the year. Jeff Grimshaw of the county's Office of Business and Community Relations says he's hoping spring work and the gradual economic recovery will help add jobs.

The Department of Labor says New York State has been outperforming other states when it comes to adding jobs.

To see the breakdown of unemployment rates by county, click here.