BY JOE OLENICK
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Unemployment improved slightly in Lockport during the month of March, according to figures released Tuesday by the state labor department.
Roughly 1,100 people were jobless in March, an unemployment rate of 10 percent. That was better than February, with 1,200 unemployed and a rate of 11 percent, as well as what was reported in March 2012. That month, over 1,100 people were without a job, an unemployment rate of 10.1 percent.
Niagara County saw improvement as well. A reported 10,400 county residents were without a job last month, an unemployment rate of 9.4 percent, better than the 11,400 reported unemployed in Feburary and the 10,600 without a job in March 2012. Unemployment rates were 10.3 percent in February and 9.6 percent in March 2012.
However, unemployment in the county hasn’t been below 7 percent since November 2008.
New York reported an 8.1 percent unemployment rate for March, with 765,100 state residents without a job. Both numbers were better than February’s, where 842,600 or 8.8 percent of New Yorkers were without a job. A year ago, the state labor department reported 831,900 were unemployed, a rate of 8.7 percent.
State officials touted New York’s private sector job growth. In March, the New York state economy added 14,100 jobs, said Bohdan M. Wynnyk, deputy director of the Division of Research and Statistics.
“This trend of job growth is underscored by the revised numbers for February 2013, which show more strength than originally reported,” Wynnyk said.
The Buffalo Niagara Falls region added 1,400 jobs, an increase of about 0.3 percent, well below the state and the rest of the nation. During the same time period, the region added 3,200 private sector jobs, an increase of about 0.7 percent.
The region’s jobless rate fell to 8.5 percent last month, the lowest March rate in two years, was better than the 8.8 percent jobless rate from last March. The unemployment rate was also less than February’s 9.2 percent rate.
However, much of the improvement in March came from a slight drop in the region’s labor force, which was lower by 1,600 people. Unemployment in the Buffalo Niagara region for March is the fourth-highest for any March since 1990.
Contact reporterJoe Olenick at 439-9222 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.