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October 10, 2020 - 4:59pm

Many possible reasons for drop in size of local labor force in August

posted by Howard B. Owens in jobs, economy, news.

While the size of Genesee County's labor force shows a significant drop for August, some of this explained by normal seasonal fluctuations, says Tammy Marino, a labor analyst for the Department of Labor.

The labor force expands in the summer with students taking on jobs and for the season. This year, many college-age workers returned to campuses earlier than usual.

The August labor force for Genesee County was 29,800, down from 30,300 the month before, and down from 30,200 the year before.

Marino noted that the August number is close to the spring number. In May, the local labor force contained 29,500 workers.

There are also people who have dropped out of the labor force for various reasons, Marino said.

"There are many factors that influence people’s decision to (not) participate in the labor force," Marino said. "No child care, fear of the virus, a need to take care of a sick relative, etc. Also, long-term trends come into play here as well, a general aging of the population overall has resulted in a shrinking labor force in recent years."

There are 27,400 people with jobs living in the county, down from 29,200 a year ago. There are 2,400 people who are out of work but looking for an appropriate job, up from 1,000 a year ago.

That puts the August unemployment rate at 8.1 percent. In August of 2019, it was 3.5 percent.

Since the start of the pandemic the monthly unemployment rate has been:

  • April: 14.4 percent
  • May: 10.1 percent
  • June: 9.5 percent
  • July: 10.5 percent
  • August: 8.1 percent

The September estimate has not yet been released.

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