By STEVE JONES Staff writer

The local unemployment rate veered away from recent trends and rose from April to May, according to state Labor Department statistics released today.

The Utica-Rome metro area’s rate for May was 8.6 percent, up from 8.2 percent in April. Over the last decade, the rate has dropped nine times from April to May and stayed steady once.

The rate was also almost a full percent higher than in May 2011, when it was 7.8 percent. That makes 2012 the highest rate for May since the state began compiling these statistics in 1990.

If history repeats itself in June, the rate will climb again, though probably only slightly, according to Labor Department Regional Economist Mark S. Barbano. The average rate increase from May to June locally over the last decade has been 0.1 percent, he said. "Construction, trade, transportation and utilities and leisure and hospitality employment will continue to grow as inclement weather subsides," he said. "Job losses can be expected at local schools as support staff are furloughed for the summer." In the past decade, from May to June, the rate increased eight times, declined once and remained unchanged once.

Here are the rates for local counties in May:

¿ Oneida — 8.5 percent, up from 8 percent in April and from 7.7 percent in May of last year.

¿ Madison — 8.3 percent, unchanged from April but up from 7.6 percent in May of last year.

¿ Lewis — 9.9 percent, down from 10.2 percent in April but up from 9.1 percent in May of last year.

¿ Herkimer — 8.8 percent, down from 9 percent in April but up from 8.3 percent in May of last year.

¿ Oswego — 10.2 percent, up from 9.8 percent in April and from 9.7 percent in May of last year.

As reported last week, the local area’s total job count rose by almost 4,000 from May 2011 to May 2012. For the 12-month period, the non-agricultural job count in the metro area rose by 3,900 — 3 percent — to 134,200. This is the ninth month in a row that over-the-year job gains have occurred.

Gains occurred in educational and health services (+1,400), leisure and hospitality (+1,100), professional and business services (+700), trade, transportation and utilities (+700), and financial activities (+200) and other services (+100). Expansion in trade, transportation and utilities occurred in retail trade (+400), transportation, warehousing and utilities (+200) and wholesale trade (+100).

Losses occurred in government (-200) and construction (-100). Government losses in local government administration (-700), federal government (-100) and state government hospitals (-100) overpowered job gains in local government education (+700).

Education and health services is at its highest May level on record. Manufacturing is at its lowest May level on record.