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During the same period last year there was an increase of 700 people in Clark County’s labor force, which was 63,400 in October, 2018. The unemployment rate changed slightly during those months going from 4.2 % to 4.4%.
Though there is a usual spike in people entering the labor pool this time of year due to a ramp up in seasonal employment, the increase this year was larger. It is something reflected in the data once adjusted to take into account seasonal trends such as holiday hiring and school schedules, LaFayette said.
Once seasonally adjusted, the unemployment rate in Clark County for October was 5.3%, compared to 4.5% in September. However, the number of people listed as employed in some capacity was steady between that period.
The labor force increased from 60,800 to 61,400 in October, according to the ODJFS. That increase was similar to what was reported during the same period last year, with that number increasing from 60,000 to 60,600.
Amy Donahoe, Director of Workforce Development with the Chamber of Greater Springfield, said she was surprised to see that the unemployment rate increased as much as it did.
Donahoe said in general, employers are having difficulty finding workers with the skills they need. She said this has prompted some employers, especially in manufacturing, to start training already employed workers for more skilled positions.
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“The latest trend that we are seeing is those employers are (training) their current employees and then back filling those (entry level) positions,” Donahoe said.
“If you can’t find talent you have to create it. That means finding opportunities within the company,” she added.
Some employers in the manufacturing and healthcare fields are turning to places such as Clark State, which can provide short-term training courses. Donahoe said that is crucial for employers that are looking for workers with specific skills.
She said a shortage in skilled labor has prompted employers to become more creative in their approach to attract and retain qualified employees, adding that can mean flexible hours or a reexamination in benefit packages.
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.
Unemployment rates 2019