Unemployment rates rise in Clark, Champaign counties

Work has begun on Topre America Corporation’s new facility at the Champion City Business Park. Topre’s facility will take up the entire business park. The company builds front ends for Acura and Honda cars. Bill Lackey/Staff

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Work has begun on Topre America Corporation’s new facility at the Champion City Business Park. Topre’s facility will take up the entire business park. The company builds front ends for Acura and Honda cars. Bill Lackey/Staff

The unemployment rate in Clark and Champaign counties jumped higher in June but remained nearly flat from the same time one year ago, according to a monthly report from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

The unemployment rate in Clark County was 5.2 percent in June, up from 4.4 percent in May. But the report showed similar results to June last year, when Clark County’s unemployment rate was 5.1 percent, according to information from the DJFS.

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Champaign County showed similar results, with the unemployment rate rising from 3.7 percent in May to 4.4 percent last month. During the same period one year ago, the unemployment rate also rose from 3.7 to 4.4 percent in Champaign County.

The spike in the jobless rate is most likely the result of seasonal workers entering the workforce during the summer, said Bill LaFayette, owner of Regionomics, a Columbus-based economics and workforce consulting firm.

Employment in Clark County has been mostly flat over the past year, LaFayette said, a sign that there has been little significant job growth locally. Tepid job growth has remained a concern throughout much of the state, he said.

Ohio’s unemployment rate, which is adjusted for seasonal factors, was 5 percent in June, up slightly from May’s 4.9 percent rate. The state added about 11,500 jobs over the past month, to the state data.

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In Ohio, the number of people counted as unemployed increased by about 10,000 compared to a year ago. That occurred even as the state added 56,800 jobs, according to the state data.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.4 percent.

Ohio saw job gains in goods-producing industries like manufacturing and construction in June, along with growth in the financial activities sector. Those gains surpassed losses in industries like leisure and hospitality and professional and business services.

In Springfield, Japanese auto parts manufacturer Topre has begun to hire 15 to 20 maintenance and assembly workers who are expected to be in place by the end of next month.

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The company is working with OhioMeansJobs Clark County and has begun to host informational sessions as the first step in the hiring process. Topre America announced plans earlier this year to invest $55 million and eventually create at least 85 jobs, with the expectation more workers could be added over the next several years.

Construction is underway on a new 146,000-square-foot facility scheduled to be complete by the end of the summer and the company plans to begin shipping parts this fall.

The state created more jobs than expected but saw a slight decrease in the size of the labor force, which includes people working and looking for work, said Orphe Divoungy, an economist for the conservative Buckeye Institute in a statement.

“A declining labor force, coupled with positive job growth, indicates that while some unemployed workers are finding jobs, others are leaving the labor force,” Divoungy said. “One reason could be, the newly unemployed, those who had just returned to the labor force, lacked the skills employers look for and exited the market place.”

READ MORE: Clark State plans 4-year degree in manufacturing to meet job demand


Unemployment rates:

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

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

Unmatched coverage

The Springfield News-Sun digs into important stories about jobs and the economy in Clark and Champaign counties, including recent stories about Topre America building a new plant in Springfield and Navistar building trucks and vans for GM in Springfield.

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