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Growing labor force sign of improvement


Champaign County’s labor force is growing and more people are finding work, a phenomenon that may inflate the unemployment rate but ultimately is a sign of economic recovery.

Champaign County is one of the few counties in the state that saw an increase in the not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate — a change from 7.3 percent in February to 7.7 percent in March, according to a report released Tuesday from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Clark County’s unemployment rate remained at 7.6 percent for the second month in a row.

“While Clark and Champaign were two of the counties where the unemployment rate did not go down, they both saw an increase in total employment,” said Ben Johnson, Job and Family Services spokesman.

Clark County has 100 more people working, according to the report.

“The growing labor force is a good sign and we want to see the labor force grow across the state and we have seen some growth in the labor force statewide in the early part of 2013,” Johnson said.

Modest increases occurred in the labor force statewide in January and February, he said, and a slight decrease in February.

But in Champaign County, the labor force grew by 200 people, said Eric Welty, workforce supervisor for both the Champaign and Logan counties workforce development arm of Job and Family Services. Half of those people found jobs.

Because of this, Champaign County is hosting a job fair on May 22.

“Our last big job fair was two years ago and had about 54 employers,” said Welty, adding that the fair will be free for employers and job seekers. “We try to play off of what the needs of the employers are … We started receiving phone calls from employers (asking) ‘When is the next job fair?’”

The job fair is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Champaign County Community Center Auditorium, 1512 U.S. 68 in Urbana. Interested employers can call 937-484-1500 for more information. Space is first come, first serve.

Job posting have been across all industries, Welty said, including health care, manufacturing, retail, IT and more.

“We’ve seen just about every industry are having needs,” Welty said. “They almost build upon one another.”



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