Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Local unemployment improved slightly last month, according to figures released Tuesday from the state labor department.
The City of Lockport’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.6 percent for May, down from 8.8 percent in April and 8.9 percent a year ago. A reported 800 residents were out of work last month, down from 900 in April and 1,000 in May 2012.
For Niagara County, unemployment dropped to 7.5 percent in May, down from 8.4 percent in April and 8.5 percent a year ago. Roughly 8,100 were without a job last month, down from 9,200 in April and 9,400 one year ago.
May also saw some modest job growth locally, as the Buffalo-Niagara Falls region added 2,300 jobs over the past 12 months, a .4 percent increase.
That increase was less than the 1 percent statewide net gain in jobs from a year ago, as well as the 1.6 percent net increase nationally, according to figures the state Department of Labor released. Over the past 12 months, New York added 85,700 jobs while the entire country added 2.1 million.
But while the growth was small, the local job market is staying consistent, said John Slenker, a state labor market analyst. The Buffalo Niagara Falls region has had 38 straight months of over-the-year private sector job growth and 35 of 38 months has seen overall job growth, Slenker said.
“Each month is a small step forward,” he said. “If this were a football team, we’d be 35-3. They’re not blowouts, we’re winning by a field goal every time. The growth rates are modest but they are so consistent. This is sustainable, not a bubble.”
The state’s unemployment rate was 7.4 percent in May, up slightly from 7.3 percent in April, but down from 8.4 percent a year ago. The number of New Yorkers without a job was 707,100 in May, up from 690,200 in April but down from 803,500 in May 2012. The national unemployment rate was 7.3 percent in May, with 11.3 million out of work, up from 7.1 percent and 11.1 million in April, but down from 8.4 percent and 12.2 million in May 2012.Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.