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Report: More Than Meets The Eye With Westchester Unemployment Rate

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – While the unemployment rate in Westchester is the fifth lowest in New York State, it still remains higher than before the 2008 stimulus package. Westchester County received the eighth highest amount of stimulus money in the state, according to recent data.

Westchester County’s unemployment rate, which has jumped percentage points in the past years and slowly declined, is now at its closest rate to the original starting percentage in 2008 before the county received stimulus recovery funding, according to information compiled by nonprofit investigative website ProPublica.

Stimulus figures show that although unemployment rates peaked in 2009 at 7.0 percent – as did unemployment throughout the United States and New York – the rates declined slightly in 2011, resting at 6.5 percent, which is still higher than before the stimulus in 2008. In December 2008, Westchester County’s unemployment rate was 5.6 percent, which increased quickly to 7.0 percent in 2009, dropped slightly in 2010 and took another dip in 2011, stimulus data said. The trend mirrors both New York State and the rest of the country.

ProPublica statistics have been collected through Dec. 31, 2011 and were announced this month. The reported data indicates that Westchester has received more than $631.5 million in stimulus funds, with $664 average per capita.  In the U.S., the average per capita of stimulus funds received was $1,645, and the New York average per capita was $1,911. Still, Westchester is in the top 10 ranking of New York counties to receive stimulus funds, receiving the eighth highest amount in the state.

Money allocated to Westchester was disbursed through different local projects. A list of the stimulus funded projects can be seen on the ProPublica website . The nonprofit reported the top three recipients of stimulus funds – mostly in the form of grants – in Westchester supported education , small business administration and transportation .

In nearby Putnam County, unemployment rates decreased from 6.8 percent in 2008 to 6.1 percent in 2011. Putnam towns received some of the lowest stimulus funds per capita, at $371.

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