The eighth annual Ohio Means Jobs and Clark County job Fair was held in May. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF

Unemployment rates tick up in Clark, Champaign Counties

Unemployment rates crept up in Clark and Champaign Counties last month after previously hitting 17-year lows according to monthly statistics released by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Clark County’s unemployment rate in May was 4.3 percent, up from 3.9 percent in April. In Champaign County, the unemployment rate was 3.7 percent, up from 3.2 percent in April. The unemployment rates in April were the lowest either county had seen since the fall of 2000, according to state data.

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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.

Statewide, Ohio’s unemployment rate was 4.3 percent in May, unchanged from April. The state added about 22,600 jobs over the month, according to information from the DJFS based on a survey of employers.

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Although local unemployment rates crept up, the state job growth was good news, said Hannah Halbert, a researcher with left-leaning Policy Matters Ohio.

“This is good news for the state,” Halbert said in a news release. “April’s data revived concerns about a return to sluggishness, but today’s data suggests Ohio is on track for a more positive year. Relative to the last two years, which were two of the poorest performers since the end of the 2007 recession, 2018 looks brighter.”

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In Clark County, the DJFS report showed about 700 more were added to the civilian labor force, which includes both people working and looking for work. The number of people listed as unemployed also rose by about 300 people and about 400 more people were listed as employed in May.

In Champaign County, about 100 more people were listed as employed and the number of people looking for work also rose by 100.

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Clark County’s 4.3 percent unemployment rate was unchanged from the same month last year, which Champaign County’s unemployment rate was down slightly from 3.8 percent in Ma7 2017.

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Statewide, Ohio saw gains in construction, which added 6,000 jobs and trade, transportation and utilities which added, 5,300 jobs according to the state report. Leisure and hospitality added 2,100 jobs.

“Today’s data is positive for a state that has been exceedingly slow to recover,” Halbert said.

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