Honda associates, at the Honda engine plant in Anna, talk to a group of high school students about the tools they use in the aluminum casting department of the plant during the Honda Manufacturing Day on Oct. 5. 2017. The programs are paying off as more young people are entering manufacturing, Champaign County leaders say. Bill Lackey/Staff

Unemployment rates flat in Clark, Champaign counties

Unemployment rates remained flat in both Clark and Champaign counties in October, according to a monthly employment report from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Clark County’s unemployment rate was 4.4 percent last month, unchanged from September. The unemployment rate was lower than at the same time one year ago, when it was listed at 4.8 percent.

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Many employers are looking to fill jobs, said Amy Donahoe, director of hiring and employer services for the Chamber of Greater Springfield. But in most cases they’re looking for a small number of employees.

The unemployment rate in Clark County was 4.8 percent at the same time last year. More people are working and looking for work compared to last year, according to the state data.

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

“There are a few employers that have a lot of openings right now,” Donahoe said. “But in general I think there are a lot of employers hiring but it’s only a handful of people. If people are interested, there are opportunities in the community right now for employment.”

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Champaign County’s unemployment rate also remained flat at 3.8 percent in October. A year ago, the rate was 4.3 percent, according to information from the Ohio DJFS. There are signs the county’s economy continues to improve but many jobs are going unfilled, said Marcia Bailey, economic development coordinator for the Champaign Economic Partnership.

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Champaign County also has struggled to attract younger workers into industries like manufacturing, but she said there are signs that efforts like field trips for local high school students to plants and internship programs are having an affect. Only about 3 percent of Champaign County’s manufacturing workforce was between the ages of 19 and 24 last year, she said, but that figure increased to about 9 percent this fall

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“The efforts that we’ve been doing as a county promoting manufacturing to our younger people, this is showing that this marketing is paying off,” she said.

Ohio’s unemployment rate, which is adjusted for seasonal factors, was 5.1 percent in October this year, down from 5.3 percent in September. That’s slightly higher than one year ago, when the unemployment rate was 5 percent.

The 4,300 jobs added statewide in October is a good sign, said Rea Hederman, executive vice president of the conservative Buckeye Institute.

“The household survey showed a solid month for the labor market with the unemployment rate falling from 5.3 percent to 5.1 percent as more Ohioans found work,” Hederman said. “Further positive news is that Ohio now matches the U.S. average in labor force participation at 62.7 percent, after trailing the national average for much of the past year.”

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