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Unemployment rate dips in Clark County

The unemployment rate in Clark County dipped to 4.2 percent in November, although economic experts said the most recent employment report was a mixed bag statewide.

Information from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services showed Champaign County’s unemployment rate remained flat at 3.8 percent. Clark County’s rate fell slightly, from 4.4 percent in October.

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Unemployment rates for both counties were lower compared to the same time last year. The unemployment rate was listed at 4.8 percent in Clark County at the same time last year. Champaign County’s unemployment rate was 4.3 percent one year ago, according to information from the Ohio DJFS.

The monthly county updates from the state aren’t adjusted to account for seasonal patterns that include summer hiring, major holidays and school schedules for example. The U.S. and state figures are adjusted for those factors.

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Accounting for seasonal factors, both the number of people working or looking for work and number people considered working improved slightly in Clark County, said Bill Lafayette, owner of Regionomics, a Columbus-based economics and workforce consulting firm.

“That’s among the lowest rates you’ve had this year,” LaFayette said of Clark County’s most recent unemployment rate. Central Ohio saw a similar trend, he said.

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A monthly snapshot on online jobs postings throughout several counties in the region showed jobs like truck driving, nursing and retail sales are among the positions most in demand throughout the region, according to information from the DJFS.

Despite the low unemployment rates, LaFayette said there is concern Ohio’s economy is still trailing the national average. Information from Policy Matters Ohio, a left leaning think tank, showed Ohio has consistently trailed the U.S. 12-month job growth average.

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The U.S. average was about 1.4 percent, while Ohio’s rate was 0.7 percent, according to Policy Matters. Central Ohio has fared relatively well, but the rest of the state is lagging, especially if Central Ohio’s growth is pulled out of the equation, LaFayette said.

“One of the things I always point out is we need to be worried about that a lot more than we are here in Central Ohio,” LaFayette said.

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Clark County attracted new companies to the area this year, although growth from those projects is not reflected in the most recent jobs report. Topre America Corp. announced this spring it will take over the Champion City Business Park in Springfield and create 85 new jobs as part of a $55 million investment. And Silfex, a high-tech manufacturing firm, said this fall the company will invest about $223 million in Springfield as part of an expansion that will eventually create about 400 new jobs.

Information from the Ohio DJFS showed Ohio’s unemployment rate was 4.8 percent in November, down slightly from 5.1 percent the previous month. The state’s unemployment rate was 5 percent one year ago.

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