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Unemployment Rates Up, Still Beat State Average

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LIMA - Sometimes hidden behind a little bit of bad news is quite a bit of good news.

Take June’s unemployment rates in the region as an example. Unemployment rates went up in all nine counties in the region, which looks like bad news.

A deeper dive into statistics released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services show more people working than they had in years. That’s accompanied by more people attempting to enter the workforce.

"It’s incremental growth, which is the healthiest form of growth," said Greg Myers, executive director of the Wapakoneta Area Economic Development Council. "Companies have slowly but surely increased their sales and their production, so they’re bringing people back to work and seeking out new employees."

Even with the drops, five of the lowest eight unemployment rates in the state belong to area counties. Mercer County continues to have the state’s lowest rate despite increasing to 3.3 percent unemployment. The statewide average was 5.9 percent in June.

Auglaize County had the third-best unemployment rate in the state, at 4 percent. That’s up from 3.6 percent in May. The number of employed people improved by 500, to its highest level since October and November 2008, 25,100.

Allen County saw a similar improvement. While its unemployment rate jumped 0.4 percentage points, to 5.6 percent, the total workforce improved. There were 600 more people with jobs than there were in May. There were also 200 more people looking for jobs than there were in May. There are more people with jobs, 46,000, than there have been since July 2009.

"Companies are taking a hard look at expanding finally," said Eric Davis, coordinator of strategic workforce development for Allen Economic Development Group. "It There are little bits her and there that make a large piece of the puzzle. It may not be the huge 500, but it’s 10 here, five there, three here. It adds up."

Area counties are seeing the growth in manufacturing jobs, as well as logistics to deliver those manufactured goods. The West Central Ohio Manufacturing Consortium recently released a snapshot survey of its members. A comparison of 2007 numbers, prior to the recession, and those to today showed some surprises, said WCOMC director Doug Durliat.

"A percentage of them have recovered or have even larger work forces than they did prior to the recession," Durliat said. "That’s how quickly they’ve rebounded, and that includes a number of prominent manufacturers included in there."

Putnam County had the sixth-best unemployment rate in the state at 4.4 percent. Its workforce increased by 200, up to the 16,800 it had last August.

"In Putnam County, we know we’re very heavily a manufacturing base," said Curt Croy, the executive director of the Putnam County Community Improvement Corp. "I think companies are doing a better job budgeting, getting their employment levels correct. You’re not seeing as much seasonal or part-time work because they’re trying to invest in their people a little more."


By Staff Reports see the full article here.