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10/29/2018   - Unemployment Numbers Released


      The North Country Chamber of Commerce is applauding preliminary unemployment rates in the North Country released by the New York State Labor Department while noting a growing challenge in meeting the workforce needs of regional employers.

      "We haven't seen numbers like these in our area in many years," states Garry Douglas, Chamber President. "Clinton County is at 3.6% unemployment compared with 4.8% a year ago, while Essex is at 3.6% and Franklin has dropped from 5.5% a year ago to 3.9% last month. With full employment often defined as 4%, that's an amazing advance for North Country workers and families. But at the same time, it adds to the growing challenges around recruitment and skills, especially as our area anticipates continued manufacturing growth in the months ahead, as well as renewed job creating investment from Canada now that the long and difficult NAFTA negotiations are completed. For our economic development team, the first question from prospects is no longer about sites or incentives but about workforce. As a rural region with a large manufacturing community, we have a stronger story to tell than most similar areas, but we will need to do even more going forward."

      Douglas reports that the Chamber and its economic development partners will be continuing to discuss and develop strategies for assisting employers ahead of 2019. "The Chamber will be conducting its annual Strategic Planning Retreat in a few weeks, and the North Country Workforce Development Board is convening a regional strategic forum in early November. There will be no silver bullets as this is a national and even international challenge, but we must maximize our support tools for employers and utilization of our training assets such as Clinton Community College and CV-TECH, among other partners." 


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