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Local News

November 16, 2012

Experts: Keep options open for area jobs

With all the talk about jobs and unemployment leading up to the presidential election, that answer often leads people to scratch their heads. If businesses are looking for employees, then why did the state Department of Labor find that the unemployment rate for Otsego County this past September was 7.2 percent?

“There are usually a good amount of opportunities out there. It just may not align with your wants and needs at that time,” said Christian Harris, New York state labor market analyst for Otsego County. “It may be a personal (preference) or more than likely, a skills mismatch.”

“Something that’s very surprising to individuals is if it’s not right in front of their face they think there’s no opportunity, but sometimes it’s right around the corner, if you investigate a little further,” Harris added.

Jennifer Smallin of Bassett Hospital said she has discovered the same thing. Smallin recently represented Bassett at a College and Career Day organized for the Career and Technical Education students at Otsego Area Occupational Center.

“It’s good for us to also clear up any misconceptions that kids have about health care,” Smallin said. “They think ‘I don’t want to be a doctor.’ ‘I don’t want to be a nurse.’ That’s not all health care is. There are other opportunities for anybody.”

The state Department of Labor has found that those people who hold a degree generally have a lower rate of unemployment than the rest of the population. In 2011, the unemployment rate for people who had an associate degree was 6.4 percent, for those with a bachelor’s degree it was 5.8 percent and 2.9 percent for those with a master’s degree or higher. During that same time, unemployment for people who had a high school diploma or a GED was 8.7 percent.

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