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Big Jump in Unemployment

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – New York's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate reached its highest level since 1994 last month, rising to 7 percent. That was a jump of a full percentage point from the previous month's figure of six percent.

Here in Buffalo, the jobless rate rose to 7.2 percent last month. That, too, was up a full percentage point from November. According to the State Labor Department, the Buffalo Niagara region lost 9,400 private sectors jobs over the past year.

The Labor Department's Peter Neenan says the severity of the current recession in New York is underscored by these latest labor market statistics. This was the first report to come out since the state's unemployment insurance system ran out of funds earlier this month. State labor officials say money is being borrowed weekly from the federal government to continue paying benefits. It's estimated the state will have borrowed $1.3 billion by year's end.