Unemployment rate falls in Clark, Champaign counties

Unemployment rates fell in Clark and Champaign counties in September, following a state trend that also saw jobless rates dip statewide.

The unemployment rate fell to 4.4 percent in Clark County, compared to 5 percent in August, according to data released from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services on Tuesday. The jobless rate here was 5.8 percent in September last year, according to information from the DJFS.

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The latest results look good for Clark County, said Bill LaFayette, owner of Regionomics, a Columbus-based economics and workforce consulting firm. But he cautioned it’s important not to get too excited about swings in the month-to-month reports until a trend develops.

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Figures provided by the state showed about 200 fewer people were in the labor force, which includes both people working and those looking for jobs. And it showed about 200 more people listed as employed compared to the previous month.

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.

LaFayette’s estimates, which do account for seasonal factors, show Clark County’s unemployment rate fell from 5.3 percent in August to 4.6 percent last month.

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“You’ve got to take it with a grain of salt for a couple reasons,” LaFayette said. “First of all, any move that big, you automatically are suspicious of. On top of that, this is one of the months where you’re looking at big seasonal adjustments because you’re going from a summer labor force to a rest of the year labor force. The seasonal adjustment models, whether they’re mine or the state’s or anybody’s, go a little wacky this month.”

Champaign County’s unemployment rate also fell from 4.4 percent in August to 3.8 percent last month. The unemployment rate in Champaign County a year ago in September was 5.4 percent.

Clark County has had success attracting new business in recent months, including a recent announcement that Silfex, based in Eaton, has plans to add about 400 jobs over the next several years.

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Wheeler Trucking, based in Michigan, opened a terminal in Springfield with about 18 workers earlier this year, with plans to eventually create about 100 total jobs here. And EF Hutton, a downtown Springfield financial services firm, said it plans to hire about 40 more workers and roughly double its workforce by early next year.

Those figures wouldn’t be reflected in the most recent state reports, however.

At the state level, Ohio saw a rebound in September, adding more than 10,000 jobs. The figures were a welcome improvement, said Rea Hederman Jr., vice president of the conservative Buckeye Institute. However, he cautioned Ohio’s growth has consistently lagged the national average.

“The slow, steady Ohio growth is not keeping pace with the national numbers, as the gap between Ohio’s unemployment and the national average has increased in the past year,” Hederman said.

Champaign County

January – 4.9 percent

February – 4.6 percent

March – 4 percent

April – 3.5 percent

May – 3.7 percent

June – 4.4 percent

July – 5.1 percent

August – 4.4 percent

September – 3.8 percent

Clark County

January – 5.9 percent

February – 5.6 percent

March – 4.8 percent

April – 4.1 percent

May – 4.4 percent

June – 5.2 percent

July – 5.7 percent

August – 5 percent

September – 4.4 percent

Source: Ohio Department of Job and Family Services

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