Though the number of people estimated to be in Clark County’s labor force in May was on par with what is usually expected that time of year, there were 100 more people estimated to be employed that month than what is traditionally seen, when factoring in seasonal trends, according to Bill LaFayette, an economist and owner of Regionomics, a Columbus-based economics and workforce consulting firm.
LaFayette said that Clark County’s unemployment rate is a good sign that the local economy has improved since last year. The unemployment rate during the same month in 2021 was 6.1%. The labor force and the number of people estimated to be employed during that period were 62,200 and 58,500 respectively.
“Things are much better,” he said, noting employment is up and that many who had left the workforce due to the pandemic have since returned.
The unemployment rates in both Clark and Champaign counties had shot up amid the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020. Those rates hit record highs of 16.5% for Clark County and 17.4% for Champaign County during April of that year. Those unemployment rates did drop to 12.7% and 10.8% respectively in May of 2020.
Though the local economy has shown signs of recovery since then, it still is being impacted by supply shortages and high inflation. Local employers are also still grappling with pre-pandemic challenges in attracting labor.