LIMA — Putnam County has its lowest unemployment rates since 2000, with rates throughout the Lima region dropping for the second month in a row, according to figures released Tuesday morning by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
Putnam County’s unemployment dropped to 3.1 percent, its lowest rate since hitting 2.9 percent in November 2000.
“It’s Christmas, and that news made me smile even more,” said Curt Croy, executive director of the Putnam County Community Improvement Corp.
Allen County’s rate in November dipped to 4.5 percent, down 0.2 percentage points from October and equal to last year. Most area counties saw their unemployment rates drop by 0.2 percentage points.
Putnam County’s numbers show a rebound from the recession. The county bottomed out at 12.8 percent unemployment in January 2010, when 2,400 people were unemployed in the county. Now there are just 600 people unemployed there.
The modern numbers show the county is stronger jobs-wise than it was back in 2000, with 600 more people holding jobs now than they were 16 years ago. Croy said county employers are still in growth mode, in addition to replacing retiring workers. Openings are in both the skilled trades and general workers, Croy said.
“If you look at a lot of businesses, whether it’s through additions or expansions over the last few years, the employers are still looking for hard workers,” Croy said.
In Allen County, the number of unemployed people dropped by 100 to 2,200 while maintaining the same labor force of 48,900. The 4.5 percent unemployment is the county’s lowest since May. OhioMeansJobs.com reported there were 1,618 jobs available within 20 miles of Lima on Tuesday morning.
The lowest rate in the state remained in Mercer County, at 2.8 percent. Mercer County’s rate dropped below 3 percent for the first time since May and hit its lowest level since October 2015.
The region has four of the eight lowest unemployment rates in the state, thanks to Mercer County, Putnam County, Hancock County (3.2 percent unemployment) and Auglaize County (3.4 percent).
Auglaize County has its lowest unemployment rate since reaching 3.2 percent in May.
Statewide, the unemployment rate was 4.4 percent in November, down 0.3 percentage points from October. That puts Allen and Hardin counties as the only ones above the average. The state’s labor force participation rate dropped slightly to 62.7 percent, but it’s higher than the 62.5 percent recorded last November.
Reach David Trinko at 567-242-0467 or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.