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Area unemployment increased in June

Unemployment slightly lower than a year ago.

Unemployment in Clark and Champaign counties increased slightly in June over May this year, but decreased from a year ago, according to preliminary data from the state released Tuesday.

Clark County’s lead jobs official couldn’t point to a specific reason for the uptick in unemployment, but said she wasn’t alarmed by the increase.

About 5,000 of Clark County’s labor force claimed unemployment last month — 0.4 percent more unemployed than in May, but 0.2 percent less than in June 2012.

Among Champaign County workers, about 1,400 claimed unemployment in June, which amounts to about a half-percent more unemployed than in May, but about 0.3 percent less than in June 2012.

The city of Springfield, specifically, saw an increase in June over May and over June 2012. Unemployment among the city’s workers was up a half-percent last month, and a tenth more over last year.

The county- and city-specific rates obtained from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services are not seasonally-adjusted.

“I don’t know of anyone downsizing or rightsizing,” said Lehan Peters, director of WorkPlus at Job and Family Services of Clark County. “The only thing I’m wondering is maybe it’s the retail (industry) that may be driving that, or even the (agricultural) jobs because you’ve planted (crops) and you’ve had people in for the planting and now this is down for the summer months until you start with the harvest,” Peters said.

“I imagine there’s a lull of maybe a couple months, probably July and August and then probably come September you’re going to see maybe another increase,” she added.

Clark, Champaign and Springfield rates followed a state trend of slight increased unemployment rates in June over May which saw a 0.2 percent jump.

Statewide, unemployment increased to 7.2 percent in June, up from 7 percent in May, according to a press release from the department.

Decreases statewide were seen in the local government, manufacturing, construction, mining and logging, health services, information, professional and business services, trade transportation and utilities and financial activities sectors, according to the state jobs department.

However, employment in the leisure and hospitality and state government industries increased. Federal government employment remained unchanged.

National unemployment rates for for June remained unchanged from May at 7.6 percent, but was down from 8.3 percent a year ago.

Despite the increase for the month, Peters believes the area is moving forward.

“I’m still going to be the Pollyanna and say that we’re moving forward; sometimes in great leaps and sometimes in baby steps,” she said. “We’re still on track, compared to 2012.”

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