Jobless rate higher than last year

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Champaign County’s economy showed signs of growth while Clark County shed jobs and workers compared to last year, according to a monthly state jobs report released Tuesday.

Despite the report, companies are hiring in Clark County, said Amy Donahoe, director for hiring and employer services for the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. The recent government shutdown likely slowed the local economy, she said, because many local workers are either employed by the federal government or work for companies that do business with the federal government.

“That’s substantial,” Donahoe said of the impact.

In the short-term, both counties added jobs between September and October this year. But there were 200 more jobs and 200 more employees in Champaign County’s workforce compared to the same time in 2012. Clark County had 500 fewer workers and 700 fewer jobs compared to 2012.

Unemployment rates were up in both counties compared to last year, but in Champaign County, it was because there are more people re-entering the workforce as more jobs become available, said Ben Johnson, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

The report showed there were 18,400 jobs in Champaign County in October 2012, compared to 18,600 employed this year. The size of the workforce increased as well, from 19,600 potential workers in 2012 compared to 19,800 this year. Champaign County’s unemployment rate increased from 6.1 percent in October 2012 to 6.4 percent at the same time this year.

“That’s a positive development,” Johnson said of Champaign County. “After months — and really years — of decline, the workforce stabilized in 2013.”

Marcia Bailey, economic development coordinator for Champaign County, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

In Clark County, the unemployment rate increased from 6.4 percent in October 2012 to 6.7 percent last month. The numbers of employed workers dipped from 63,500 in October 2012 to 62,800 at the same time this year. The workforce overall also shrunk from 67,800 to 67,300 during that same time.

However, Clark County added about 500 jobs between September and October this year and the size of the civilian labor force increased from 67,000 to 67,300.

“We may be on the cusp of holiday hiring, but I don’t know that you can solely attribute that growth to holiday hiring,” Johnson said. “But it does fit what we’ve seen before.”

Johnson also pointed out that a separate survey of businesses showed Clark County only lost about 100 jobs compared to 2012, which would mean the region’s economy remained relatively flat.

Donahoe said jobs are available, but in some instances workers turn them down because of lower pay than expected or because they believe the job isn’t the right fit.

The chamber has also emphasised creating internships and other opportunities for workers to get training for the types of jobs that are available, Donahoe said. Many of the companies that are hiring locally are having trouble finding workers with the specific skills, and the chamber is working with local businesses to help close that gap.

The state released figures for both October and September at the same time. Those reports were delayed because of the recent government shutdown.

Overall, Ohio’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.5 percent in October, up from 7.4 percent in September. That is slightly higher than the U.S. unemployment rate, which was 7.3 percent in October and 7.2 percent in September.

Ohio added 1,300 construction jobs and 900 manufacturing jobs, as well 3,000 jobs in the leisure and hospitality industry. But the state also shed 6,300 government jobs compared to September, and 1,200 professional and business service jobs, according to information from the Ohio DJFS.

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