Unemployment rates increase in Clark and Champaign counties as more people look for work

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

The unemployment rates for both Clark and Champaign counties climbed back up in January after steadily decreasing over the fall and early winter.

That followed a trend usually seen in the beginning of the year as the number of residents employed declines due to the loss of some seasonal jobs that are centered around the holiday season in November and December.

However, the number of people in Clark County estimated to be looking for work increased in January. That defies expected trends usually seen during that month, in which there is traditionally a dip in both employment and the number of people looking for work in both counties.

ExploreVietnam Veterans Day of Remembrance ceremony to return

The unemployment rate in Clark County went from 3.5% in December to 5.2% in January. For Champaign County, the unemployment rate increased from 3.1% in December to 4.7% in January.

Estimates related to the January unemployment rate were released this week as well as data pertaining to the number of residents either employed or looking for work by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

The number of residents estimated to be employed either part-time or full-time dropped from 60,000 in December to 59,400 people in January. The number of people employed in Champaign County from December to January went from 18,700 to 18,300.

That can be attributed to the loss of seasonal jobs that usually pop up in the later part of the year and are largely driven by the holiday season, said Bill LaFayette, an economist and owner of Regionomics, a Columbus-based economics and workforce consulting firm.

In addition, the unemployment rates in both Clark and Champaign counties dropped in November and December to some of their lowest rates during the coronavirus pandemic.

In Clark County, the unemployment rate went from 3.6% in November to 3.5% in December. In Champaign County that rate during those two months stayed the same at 3.1%.

In addition, there were more Clark County residents employed at the end of 2021 than the previous year. But, the combined total of people either working or looking for work, known as the labor force, was still below what was reported pre-pandemic. That was a trend that continued into this year.

ExploreOhio Secretary of State orders Ohio House, Senate races off May 3 ballots

In January, the labor force increased in Clark County, going from 62,200 to 62,700 when compared to December. That number decreased slightly in Champaign County going from 19,300 to 19,200 during December and January.

However, the increase in Clark County’s labor force could be caused by the fact that people are becoming more comfortable going out or working amid the pandemic, LaFayette said.

That also comes at time when there has been a decrease in COVID-19 cases and employers are still struggling to find labor.

“I would guess that people who are coming back to the labor market now are going to get (recruited) pretty quickly,” LaFayette said.

However, the labor force is still under what it was before the pandemic. Clark County’s labor force was estimated at 63,600 residents in January of 2020.

About the Author