Job growth

The most recents jobs report from the New York State Department of Labor showed improvement in Montgomery County, but a slight decline in Fulton County.

For June, Montgomery County added to its approximately 19,300 jobs with a 1.6 percent increase. Fulton County’s 18,000 jobs declined a bit by 0.6 percent.

Total employment in?New York state increased by 0.3 percent, or 23,900 jobs, in June, bringing employment to 7,918,400, a new record for total employed people.

“New York state’s labor market continued to strengthen in June 2016, reaching a new record high in private-sector jobs. In addition, the state’s over-the-month percentage gain in private- sector jobs [up 0.3 percent] in June was greater than the nation’s [which was up 0.2 percent],” stated Bohdan M. Wynnyk, deputy director of the New York State Department of Labor’s Division of Research and Statistics, in a news release.

Montgomery County Economic Development Director Ken Rose said the year-over-year private sector employment in Montgomery County for June was also up, by 1.9 percent, better than the state private sector growth for the same period, which was 1.5 percent.

Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort attributed some of the employment increase to Montgomery County being included in the state Department of Labor Unemployment Strikeforce in 2015. The Unemployment Strikeforce is a 10-county program aimed at reducing unemployment, with a specific focus on long-term unemployed people, those who’ve been unemployed longer than 27 weeks. The other counties in the program include: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Franklin, Oswego and Steuben counties.

“The county has a number of job training programs, including Strikeforce, which aim to connect people who are unemployed with jobs that are available and employers who are hiring,” Ossenfort said. “I feel that our efforts and investment in workforce development and economic development are certainly reasons for the strong job growth you are seeing and that the county’s unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in nearly 10 years.”

Montgomery County’s unemployment rate was 4.9 percent in June, while Fulton County’s unemployment rate was 5 percent.

New York state’s unemployment rate in June was unchanged from May, at 4.7 percent, which makes it the lowest unemployment level since 2007.

Rose said Montgomery County’s 4.9 percent unemployment rate is the lowest mark for the county since November 2006.

Brett Butler in July opened a new restaurant called the Italian Oven, at 22 W. Main St., Fonda, in July, at the site of the old Sorrentis restaurant. He said his business so far has created six jobs. He said he believes he made the decision to open his business at the right time because of planned expansions of a number of businesses in the downtown Fonda area. He said he also has a sentimental attachement to the location of his business because he and his wife worked at Sorrentis when they were teenagers and working at the restaurant saved their relationship.

“We had dated for two years and then we broke up. We both started working [at Sorrentis] and that brought us back together,”?he said. “This is the place where we learned all of our morals.

Stubborn joblessness in Fulton County

Aaron Eschler, owner of Best Staffing Solutions in Gloversville, said he believes, based on difficulties he’s had with placing workers with jobs, that the unemployment level in Fulton County would be lower than 5 percent if more unemployed people were willing to work. He said that in all of the years he’s worked in the job placement field, 2016 has been the worst in terms of him having difficulty filling jobs with qualified candidates.

“They either don’t show up when you get them the job, or they quit soon after, if they decide walking three blocks from their house is too difficult. A lot of people have gotten used to living a comfortable lifestyle receiving government benefits,” he said.

Even as overall unemployment levels have improved throughout New York state, the labor participation rate, which is the percentage of working age people who are employed, has declined, even as the state hit a record for the total number of employed people. In June, the labor force participation rate declined to below 61 percent, a continuation of a three-month slide.