Employment relatively unchanged in Clark, up in Champaign County

Clark County’s labor force dipped in November, according to monthly employment figures released by the state. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

The unemployment rate dropped in both Clark and Champaign counties during November.

Clark County saw its unemployment rate decrease from 5% in October to 4.3% in November. Champaign County saw a similar decrease between October and November with the unemployment rate going from 4.8% to 3.6%.

The number of people looking for jobs in Clark County decreased slightly between October and November, according to monthly employment figures released by the state. However, the number of people listed as employed in Champaign county during that period increased.

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The unemployment rate in those counties were not much different last month than what was reported during the same period last year. However, more people are either looking for work or are employed now compared to November of last year, according to a comparison of the data.

There has been steady growth in Clark County’s labor force —which tracts those employed in some capacity or actively looking for work— since May, even though there was a decrease in November.

During that period there has been an increase of over 1,000 people in the labor force, said Bill LaFayette, an economist and owner of Regionomics, a Columbus-based economics and workforce consulting firm.

At the end of last month, Clark County’s labor force consisted of 64,100 compared to 64,700 in October. In October there was a bump of 1,100 people looking for or who were employed in the county compared to September.

LaFayette described that bump as larger than what is usually seen between those months. He said it was an example of the unemployment rate rising for the right reasons at the time since more people were looking for work.

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Despite the drop in the labor force in November, he said the overall labor trend seen towards the latter half of this year has been positive.

“Generally if you see a drop in the labor force, people are pessimistic about the likelihood of finding a job. However, you cannot conclude that from a one month change,” LaFayette said.

It is something reflected in the data once adjusted to take into account seasonal trends such as holiday hiring and school schedules, LaFayette said.

He said once seasonally adjusted, the drop in Clark County’s unemployment rate between October and November stayed relatively the same, going from 5.4% to 4.9%. He said the change in the labor force between those months was 400 people shy of what is usually seen that time of year.

In Champaign County, the labor force, not seasonally adjusted, stayed at 20,200 between October and November. However, employment increased by 300 during the same period. The number people listed as employed in some capacity in the county last month was 19,500.

Unemployment rates 2019

Clark County

October- 5

November- 4.3

Champaign County

October- 4.8

November- 3.6

The Springfield News-Sun will continue to provide unmatched coverage of jobs and the economy in Clark and Champaign Counties and has covered recent stories relating to wage increases, latest housing numbers and job growth.

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