The unemployment rates for both Clark and Champaign counties increased between the months of December and January. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Unemployment rate in Clark and Champaign up as usual in January

The unemployment rate for both Clark and Champaign counties rose in January and were higher than what was reported during the same period last year.

The unemployment rate increased to 5.7% in Clark County from the 4.1% reported in December. The increase was higher than what was reported last year, which saw a January unemployment rate of 5.2%, according to state data released by the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services.

In Champaign County the unemployment rate in January was 4.8%, an increase from the 3.4% reported in December. The latest data shows an increase in the unemployment rate from the same period last year, which was 4.3%.

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However, more people were looking for work in the area at the beginning of this year compared to the same period in 2019, according to state data released by the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services. There was a similar number of people employed at the end of January compared to the same month in 2019.

The unemployment rate usually increases in the month of January as the number of temporary jobs, especially in retail, go away after the holiday season, said Bill LaFayette, an economist and owner of Regionomics, a Columbus-based economics and workforce consulting firm.

“We always see a dip between December and January. It is mainly due to the rise in seasonal employment towards the end of the year. All those jobs have now ended. That happens every year in every area,” he said.

Previous estimates showed a dip in Clark County’s labor force, which tracts those employed in some capacity or actively looking for work, between the months of December and January. However, updated data from the state that was released this week showed an increase of 400 people between those months. It also slightly changed the unemployment rates that were reported last year.

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Clark County had an estimated labor force of 63,400 people in January compared to 63,000 people in December. However more people were listed as employed in December, which was 60,500 compared to 59,800 reported in January.

In Champaign county, the number of people in the labor force increased slightly between December and January, going from 19,900 to 20,000. However, the number of people listed as employed decreased from 19,300 to 19,000 during that period.

LaFayette said though the number of people employed in January was similar to what was reported during the same month in 2019, an increase in those counties’ labor forces this year has lead to a higher unemployment rate.

There were 63,000 people in Clark County’s labor force in January 2019. An estimated 59,700 people were listed as employed during that month.

There were an estimated 19,800 in Champaign County’s labor force during the same period. The number of people listed as employed was 18,900.

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