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New York News

NY's Unemployed: A Watershed Moment?

By Dave Lucas

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wamc/local-wamc-893940.mp3

Albany, NY – At the end of this week thousands of New Yorkers will lose their unemployment benefits with no extension in sight. Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

What do you do when you've used up all 99 weeks of your unemployment benefits? About 1,500 Capital Region residents are among 46,000 New Yorkers poised to find out.

They're done with unemployment benefits - job or not - and they're the tip of the icberg. After the first 46,000 lose their benefits, thousands more will follow each week through the foreseeable future.

What do they do? Where do they go?

Spokesperson Michelle Duffy says the Labor Department is reaching out to these individuals via the One-Stop Career Centers and by way of a special website. Duffy notes that some people are starting to panic. They don't know what they're going to do next.

How will they pay their bills and feed their families? She says that for the unemployed, networking through the labor department's Facebook page has been a godsend.

Dan Moran, founder and president of Next-Act of Colonie, reveals a brighter picture for the unemployed. Job postings in the Capital Region rose last week to just over 7,700, an increase of more than one-third from last week, and the trend was the same in Buffalo and Syracuse indicating a strong surge of hiring demand in the second quarter of April through June.

"I was surprised to see the number jump so high in such a short period of time, but this trend is what we saw prior to the recession in our region," said Moran. "Job postings were routinely in the 7,800 to 8,500 range in 2007 and early 2008, and we are beginning to see those numbers again."

Moran feels the turn of events represents a watershed moment for the unemployed. He added that health care, sales & marketing, information technology and engineering are showing high demand in the region which is consistent with previous reports.

"We are seeing an steady increase in administrative and managerial job openings as well, and these were the jobs that were cut in the recession first. Looks like these jobs are being replaced now," continued Moran. It also appears that employers are replacing and refilling jobs that were trimmed when business conditions deteriorated.

"That is why we haven't seen net job growth in a significant way yet, and hopefully we will."