Clark County unemplyment rate sees increase

Clark County unemployment rate up slightly

State data shows Clark County’s unemployment rate ticked up slightly in July, while remaining flat in Champaign County.

Clark County’s unemployment rate was 5.3 percent last month, compared to 5.2 percent in June according to information from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Clark County also saw its unemployment rate creep up from 5 percent in June to 5.6 percent in July last year.

Champaign County’s unemployment rate remained flat at 4.6 percent. Champaign County’s unemployment rate was 4.9 percent in July last year.

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The monthly county updates from the state aren’t adjusted to account for seasonal patterns that include summer hiring, major holidays and school schedules. The U.S. and state figures are adjusted for those factors.

Ohio’s unemployment rate also crept up to 4.6 in July, up slightly from 4.5 percent in June. But figures from the Ohio DJFS estimated the state added 7,600 jobs over the month. The state saw the biggest gains in manufacturing, which added 4,700 jobs while the construction industry added 2,200 jobs. Those gains were partially offset by professional and business services, which shed 1,200 jobs.

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The state results showed two solid months of job growth in which Ohio’s pace of job growth crept closer to the national average, said Hannah Halbert, project director with left-leaning Policy Matters Ohio in a news release.

She said Ohio’s job growth is on a positive trend but cautioned against reading too much into the monthly data released this week.

“So far, 2018 looks to be a banner year,” Halbert said. “This is good news for Ohio, particularly after the disappointing growth seen last year. The state needs many more months of strong growth to pull in new workers and restore the state’s labor force to its pre-recession level.”

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In Clark County, local officials have said they believe several efforts to attract new jobs and investment are beginning to pay off. Horton Hobbs, vice president of economic development for the Chamber of Greater Springfield, recently touted new investments in Clark County during a meeting at an I-70/75 Development Association event hosted at Sinclair Community College.

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That includes a partnership with Madison County to jointly promote business parks along I-70 and increasingly using data from the Dayton Development Coalition to provide more information about the region’s workforce to potential employers. The county has also attracted hundreds of new jobs from manufacturing firms like Topre and Silfex, while companies like Dole and Yamada have announced major expansions.

But he also noted Springfield and other communities will continue to face some challenges, including worker shortages as older employees retire and too few younger workers take their place.

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