Clark and Champaign counties both shed jobs this summer, according to employment figures released by the state Tuesday, but local officials said that fluctuating rates are typical this time of year and that some jobs are still available.
Preliminary employment figures from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services show the Springfield metro area shed about 300 jobs between June and July, according to seasonally adjusted data.
Despite the job losses, the overall trend throughout the past several months has remained relatively stable, said Amy Donahoe, director of hiring and employer services for the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. Although Clark County lost jobs, state figures also show the unemployment rate dipped slightly, from 7.3 percent in June to 7.2 percent in July.
“It’s fluctuating with the time of year,” Donahoe said of the figures.
The data from the state, which has not been seasonally adjusted, shows there are 900 fewer people working in Clark County compared to last month. However, the size of the local work force also dropped, leading to a slight dip in the unemployment rate, said Angela Terez, a spokeswoman for the ODJFS.
“Although the number of employed persons dropped by 900, the size of the civilian labor force dropped as well,” Terez said. “Because the number of unemployed dropped slightly relative to the number in the civilian labor force, the unemployment rate dropped a little.”
Part of the problem in evaluating the numbers is that the figures tend to vary depending on the time of year, Donahoe said.
She said unemployment will likely begin to creep back up in the coming months as temporary summer jobs end, for example.
Overall, Donahoe said there are still opportunities for work locally, and the chamber is working closely with WorkPlus to connect workers to the jobs that are available.
Over the past year, the unemployment rate in Clark County has dipped from 7.7 percent in July 2012 to 7.2 percent in July this year. The number of those employed in Clark County actually fell from 62,700 in 2012 to 62,300 in July this year, according to figures from the state. But the size of the local work force also fell from 67,900 people last July to 67,100 this year.
Figures from the state show Champaign County lost about 200 jobs since June, according to figures that were not seasonally adjusted. The unemployment rate dipped slightly, from 7.1 to 7 percent.
Compared to last year, employment in Champaign County fell from 18,100 workers in July 2012 to 18,000 in July this year. The unemployment rate has fallen from 7.6 to 7 percent in the past year.
In July, Ohio tied Nebraska as having the fifth worst 12-month job growth rate in the nation at 0.7 percent, said Hannah Halbert, policy liaison with Policy Matters Ohio. Overall, Ohio lost 5,300 workers last month.
Ohio’s job growth rate has been below the U.S. average for 13 consecutive months, said George Zeller, an economic research analyst in Cleveland.
“Thus, this was not just a July problem,” he said. “Ohio is once again continuously recovering from the recession more slowly than the rest of the country is.”
He said the exact cause of Ohio’s slow growth is unclear, but cuts in local, federal and state government are slowing down the rate of recovery.