Unemployment rate increases in Clark and Champaign counties

The unemployment rates in Clark and Champaign counties increased in May as both counties saw fewer people employed or looking for work when compared to the previous month.

Clark County saw its unemployment rate go from 4.8% in April to 6.1% in May and Champaign County saw its unemployment rate increase from 3.8% to 4.9% between those two months.

That is according to data released this week from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

The number of people either employed or actively looking for work, also known as the labor force, decreased in Clark County during the same period with that number going from 63,200 to 60,700. The number of people living in Clark County listed as having some form of employment was 60,100 in April and 57,000 in May.

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The labor force in Champaign County dropped from 19,900 in April to 19,000 in May. The number of Champaign County residents employed in April was 19,100 and that number decreased to 18,000 in May.

Large decreases seen in employment in the state and the trickle down effect it has on local data related to the unemployment rate as well as the labor force could be due to an irregularity with one of the surveys used to determine those numbers.

That information came from Bill LaFayette, an economist and owner of Regionomics, a Columbus-based economics and workforce consulting firm.

LaFayette said supply chain issues as well as employers having trouble finding workers, especially those with the desired skills, could also play a part in the increase in the unemployment rate as well as the decreases in employment.

“Employers are having trouble hiring. Some are trying to pay (their employees) the same amount seen before the pandemic and the market has changed,” he said.

The increase in the unemployment rate for Clark and Champaign counties in May comes as those rates have been steadily decreasing since the beginning of the year.

In Clark County the unemployment rate went from 5.8% in January to 4.8% in April. In Champaign County that rate went from 4.7% to 3.8% during the same time period.

The overall labor force and the number of people living in those counties who are employed has fluctuated between January and May, according to data from the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services.

In Clark County the labor force ranged between 63,200 at its highest during the year so far in March and April to 60,700, its lowest, in May. Unemployment in the county ranged between 60,100 to 57,000 during those months.

In Champaign County, March and April saw the largest labor force so far in the year with that number being reported as 19,900 and May saw the lowest with that number being 19,000. Employment in that country ranged between 19,200 and 18,000 between the months of January and May.

Trends seen in Clark and Champaign counties between April and May were similar to what was observed statewide which saw the unemployment rate go up form 4.8% to 5%. There was also a decrease in the state’s labor force as well as in the number of people listed as employed.

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