Clark and Champaign county unemployment rates show steady economy amid pandemic

Several fast food restaurants are hiring in the Springfield area. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
Caption
Several fast food restaurants are hiring in the Springfield area. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

The unemployment rates in Clark and Champaign counties declined between the January and March as those listed as employed increased.

Th unemployment rate in Clark County dropped from 5.8% to 5.1% over the 3-month period while the number of residents employed in some form rose from 58,700 to 59,900, according to data from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

In Champaign County, the unemployment rate dropped from 4.7% at the beginning of the year to 3.8% in March, according to the latest local employment data released this week by the ODJFS.

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The number of people employed in Champaign County went up slightly from 18,500 to 19,000 between those three months.

The labor force in both counties, which looks at the number of people looking for work as well as those who are employed, has also increased since the start of the year.

In Clark County, that number went from 62,300 to 63,100 while in Champaign County it went from 19,400 to 19,700.

Once seasonal trends and historical comparisons are taken into account, employment in the area has remained steady throughout the year so far, showing no major increases or decreases, said Bill LaFayette, an economist and owner of Regionomics, a Columbus-based economics and workforce consulting firm.

LaFayette said that while nationally there has been growth in employment, there has only been a slight improvement in that number locally since November.

“The economy is holding steady compared to what we were seeing last year,” he added.

The unemployment rate in Clark County went from 5.8% to 6.1% between January and March of last year. However, the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic caused a record spike in the unemployment rate of April 2020, which shot up to 17.3%.

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The number of people listed as employed in Clark County between March and April of last year went from 59,700 to 50,600.

However, the economy has slowly been recovering. The unemployment rate dropped to 4.5% in November before increasing to 5.8% in January and then dropping down to 5.1% in March of this year.

But, the number of people listed as employed went from 59,500 to 59,900 between November and March and the overall labor force has also increased in the county during that time.

There are also a number of job openings in the county said Alex Dietz, the economic development coordinator for Clark County.

He said that employers are getting back to some sense of normalcy as more people get comfortable returning to in-person business.

Dietz said that more employers are also shifting back to more in-person work.

LaFayette said going forward, economist predict good employment gains nationally for the remainder of the year as well as going into 2022.

He said that is attributed to an increase in consumer confidence as more people get vaccinated. However, an increase in coronavirus cases can have a negative impact on the recovery.


Unemployment rate in Clark County for this year

March: 5.1%

February: 5.7%

January: 5.8%

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