LIMA — According to labor force estimates, Ohio’s unemployment rate for October stayed at September’s reported 4.6 rate, with regional county numbers reporting minor increases of 0.1 to 0.2 percent in the rate for October.
Allen County saw a 0.2 percent increase in the unemployment rate, from 4.0 percent to 4.2 percent from September to October. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reports that 2,000 individuals in the county’s labor force of 47,900 are currently unemployed.
Surrounding counties saw similar 0.1 to 0.2 percent increases in the unemployment rate, but most low population counties in the region continue to have some of the lowest unemployment rates — many below 3.5 percent — in the state.
Mercer County once again grabbed the top spot in Ohio with the lowest county unemployment rate — 2.7 percent. Putnam, Auglaize, Hancock and Van Wert counties also ranked within the top 10 of 88 Ohio counties for unemployment rates. Allen and Hardin counties ranked closer to the middle of the pack, placing 43rd and 44th, respectively.
Ohio unemployment rates have slowly decreased since October of 2017. In total, within the last year, the number of unemployed in Ohio has shrunk by 16,000, while the number of new jobs has increased by 115,400.
Meanwhile, local leaders continue to report a workforce shortage in the area, especially for those in the manufacturing industry. The job positions listed within Lima on the OhioMeansJobs website are concentrated primarily within retail, healthcare and manufacturing.
In comparison, the majority of new jobs added in Ohio within the last year, 83,100 in total, were concentrated in the service sector, with goods-producing industries across the state seeing an additional 23,200 jobs.
In total, OhioMeansJobs currently lists 146,000 open positions within the state.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the United States continues to have a lower unemployment rate, 3.7 percent, on average when compared to Ohio’s 4.6 percent.
The national unemployment rated has continuously trended downward following the Great Recession, from its near 10.1 percent high seen in 2009. Currently, the unemployment rate stands at a 49-year low, but wage growth remains sluggish for many industries.
Some economists predict that should change soon. Most notably, the Labor Department’s Employment Cost Index reported a 2.9 percent wage increase from September 2017 to September 2018 — a 10-year high — but whether wages will continue to outrun inflation as the labor market tightens is still up for debate. The most recent real average hourly earning estimates by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, released a week ago, reported wage growth at -0.1 percent from September to October.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.