Silfex, a manufacturing facility that opened in early June in Springfield, has already brought on 150 employees with more on the way. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Unemployment rates rise slightly in Clark, Champaign counties after months of decline

Unemployment rates rose in Clark and Champaign counties in May, ending a downward trend for both counties, according to state data released on Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services.

The unemployment rate increased to 3.3% in Clark County, up from 3.2% in April. The increase marks the first time the unemployment rate has risen since January.

In Champaign County, unemployment rose to 2.9%. Up from 2.7% in April, and rising for the first time since December.

Bill LaFayette, an economist and owner of Regionomics, a Columbus-based economics and workforce consulting firm, said while the unemployment rate went up slightly, the numbers don’t tell a big story.

“The rate went up because the number of people employed fell by about 700 people, and the labor force fell by a little less than usual, and as a result unemployment rose a touch,” LaFayette said. “It sounds like a bigger story than what it is.”

APRIL NUMBERS: Unemployment rate falls for fourth straight month in Clark, Champaign counties

Amy Donahoe, Director of Workforce Development for the Chamber of Greater Springfield, said previously that Clark County has turned their attention to keeping workers within the county.

“We are taking a look at individuals who are living in Clark County but working outside of the community,” Donahoe said. “The Chamber will continue to do anything, and look into anything, that will help support our workforce development.”

Within the last month two Clark County area businesses, Silfex and Code Blue, have announced plans for large hiring sprees.

Silfex, a manufacturing facility that opened in early June in Springfield, has already brought on 150 employees with more on the way. The company pledged to bring over 400 jobs to the area over the next couple of years.

CodeBlue, a water mitigation firm, announced in April they were planning to hire 169 new positions at their downtown Springfield office. Last week, the company said they had sent out, “dozens,” of offer letters after, “nearly one hundred job interviews.”

MARCH NUMBERS: Unemployment continues to drop in Clark, Champaign County

LaFayette said it’s important to look at unemployment numbers over a longer term, rather than just one singular month.

“When you look at the past rates, it tells a story of OK growth for the year,” LaFayette said.

LaFayette said Ohio DJFS does not seasonally adjust or account for seasonal patterns in county unemployment rates. Seasonally adjusted numbers take summer hiring, holiday hiring and school schedules into account when calculating unemployment rates. State and national figures are adjusted for those factors.

Seasonally adjusted, last month Clark County was around 3.6 to 3.7, LaFayette said, which will most likely see a fall next month due to summer hiring.

Statewide, Ohio’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rates continued its slight decline at 4.1%, down .1% from April, according to Ohio DJFS. Nationwide, unemployment held steady at 3.6%.

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