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NIAGARA FRONTIER LOSES 500 JOBS

Erie and Niagara counties lost 500 jobs in November, a rare occurrence for the month when jobs usually increase because of hiring by stores for the Christmas season.

Jobs also declined by 600 statewide. "A decline in the job count in November is rare," said Jeremy Schrauf, director of the state Labor Department's Division of Research and Statistics. "The state last experienced such weakness in 1982."

The drop in employment is seen as another sign that the economy is in a recession. It's the seventh statewide decline in nine months.

The latest non-agricultural job count for the Niagara Frontier is 555,600, the same as a year ago. The number of jobs dropped by 0.7 percent statewide during the 12-month period.

Statewide, the job gains were in public and private education and health and legal services. The losses were in construction, recreation, lodging and automobile repair.

The gain in retail jobs was only one-fifth of the normal increase in November.

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