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Number of Clark County jobs, job seekers are up

Result is an increase in unemployment rate, new state report shows.

Clark County added 300 jobs while hiring in Champaign County remained flat in the most recent jobs report released by the state Tuesday.

Area job experts said hiring has been relatively steady, although some jobs remain unfilled because local workers often do not have specific skills employers are looking for to fill some positions.

A separate state report also showed that, despite the relatively flat numbers, the number of job listings posted online has increased by almost 900 advertisements compared to the same time last year.

“Our experience of late is pretty steady,” said Dave Dombrowsky, director of Clark County Department of Job and Family Services. “We haven’t seen a huge influx, but we haven’t seen a huge decrease.”

From October to November, Clark County added about 300 jobs, and the number of residents looking for work increased by about 500. The unemployment rate ticked up from 6.7 percent in October to 6.9 percent in November.

The fact that more people are entering the workforce is likely a good sign for the county, said Amy Donahoe, director for hiring and employer services for the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce.

“We’re still seeing a lot of jobs come in,” Donahoe said. “I’m still trying to find the people to fill those opportunities, which is the strange point.”

Month-to-month figures were basically flat in Champaign County.

About 100 more people entered the workforce between October and November, according to information provided by the state. But the number of residents listed as having jobs remained the same at 18,600, and the number of those unemployed also remained the same at 1,300 workers. The unemployment rate ticked up slightly from 6.4 to 6.5 percent.

Marcia Bailey, economic development coordinator for Urbana, could not be reached for comment Friday.

The county unemployment statistics are not seasonally adjusted, and state officials have said comparing the figures to the previous year provides a better glimpse of how employment is faring.

About 400 more people are actively searching for work in Clark County than at the same time last year, according to civilian labor force estimates from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. There are about 100 fewer people employed, and the unemployment rate rose from 6.2 to 6.9 percent.

In Champaign County, the job numbers look better than they did one year ago. About 600 more people entered the labor force, and the county added 500 jobs, but there were also about 100 more people listed as unemployed. The unemployment rate increased from 6.1 to 6.5 percent.

Much of the credit for the additional jobs is due to local manufacturers in Champaign County such as KTH, Robert Rothschild Farm and Weidmann Electrical Technology, said Bill Bean, mayor of Urbana. Many manufacturers in the county have been expanding, or at least providing steady employment for much of the county’s workforce. The county’s current unemployment rate has improved steadily from 2009, when the unemployment rate rose as high as 11.7 percent.

“We’ve come a long way, and I really have to thank our manufacturers for that,” Bean said.

Like officials in Clark County, Bean noted the most challenging problem has been identifying workers qualified to fill some jobs that require specific skills.

“They’re really having a hard time finding skilled labor, and that’s the biggest issue they’ve had,” Bean said.

Western Ohio, including Clark, Champaign, Greene and Montgomery counties, among others, saw more than 18,100 job openings posted online between October and November this year, according to a separate report from the Ohio DJFS. That was an increase of about 580 ads compared to the previous reporting period and about 880 more than were posted at the same time last year.

Navistar and Assurant were Clark County companies that were listed among the Western Ohio employers with the most area job ads.

Navistar employs as many as 800 production and maintenance workers at its Springfield truck manufacturing facility, and as many as 1,300 workers on its campus overall. The company had 38 job openings listed on the state report, although company officials declined to comment on overall employment trends.

The company is one of the area’s largest employers. Bill Osborne, senior vice president of global manufacturing and quality for the company, has previously said he expects hiring to remain stable in 2014, and said any new hiring would be driven by market demand.

Overall, both counties seemed to be faring well compared to much of the rest of the state.

Ohio’s unemployment rate was 7.4 percent in November, down slightly from 7.5 percent in October. The state saw declines in construction, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality. There were gains in health services, manufacturing trade, transportation and utilities.

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