Clark County saw unexpected increase in employment during July

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

The unemployment rate rose in Clark County during the months of June and July as the area saw an unexpected increase in employment and the number of people looking for work.

In Clark County, the unemployment rate went from 4.4% to 4.6% during those two months. The number of residents estimated to be employed during the same period went from 60,000 to 60,200, according to recent data released by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

However, when taking into account seasonal factors that impact employment, Clark County actually saw a decrease in its unemployment rate and an increase in jobs not usually seen this time of year.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the county went from 4.2% in June down to 4% in July and the county saw an estimated 1,000 more people employed when compared to previous trends, said Bill LaFayette, an economist and owner of Regionomics, a Columbus-based economics and workforce consulting firm.

LaFayette said that normally the number of residents estimated to be employed in the county drops by 800 between June and July. However, that is not the case this year. The county’s labor force, the combined total of residents either employed in some capacity or actively looking for work, also increased. That number went from 62,800 to 63,100 from June to July.

LaFayette did not attribute the increase in employment or labor force to a particular factor. He did add that there has been a trend in recent months of a slow decline in labor force and employment this year.

“We are going to have to wait and see if these increases continue in the coming months,” the economist said.

“The chance of an economic slowdown is still out there. The chance of a recession is certainly more significant than it was this time last year. So we will just have to wait and see,” LaFayette added.

Clark County saw its unemployment rate go from 6.2% to 5.6% during the same time last year. The number of residents believed to be employed went from 59,300 to 59,800 and the overall labor force went from 63,200 to 63,300.

But, employment growth has continued since the pandemic and the unemployment rates have dropped after spiking greatly in the early part of 2020 due to the immediate economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

LaFayette said moving forward the expectation is much slower economic growth than what was seen last year. That is due to efforts to combat inflation.

“The Federal Reserve’s increasing of interest rates is meant to slow the economy, which was overheated. So what we can expect is much slower economic growth than what we did see last year. That is not a bad thing. It was strong growth that led to the inflation we are seeing,” he added.

The unemployment rate in Champaign County for June and July of this year went from 3.9% to 4%. The number of people employed remained the same at 18,800 and the overall labor force went down from 19,600 to 19,500.

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