Region jobless rate continues rise

By Mackenzi Klemann -

LIMA — Unemployment rose to 4.7% in Allen County in July, continuing a three-month upward trend that appears to be driven by a growing labor force.

Allen County’s labor force has grown by 1,500 persons since April, when unemployment fell to a 50-year low of 3%, suggesting those historically low jobless rates were driven at least in part by people leaving the workforce here.

Most of the eight-county region is experiencing a similar trend as jobless rates rise around west central Ohio, according to July estimates released by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services on Tuesday.

Mercer County — which has maintained the lowest unemployment rate in Ohio — saw modest labor force growth from June to July (+200), which coincided with a 0.2 percentage point increase in the county’s jobless rate.

But not all fluctuations in unemployment can be pinned to labor force changes.

Putnam County, for example, saw virtually no changes in labor force participation from March to May despite fluctuations in unemployment during that time.

And despite the rise in unemployment, jobless rates across most the region are still lower than this same time last year, with the exception of Hardin and Logan counties.

Ohio’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4% in July, slightly higher than the U.S. unemployment rate of 3.7%.

The state saw a modest increase in labor force participation from June to July, during which another 2,500 private sector jobs were created, including 3,200 in manufacturing and 2,600 in leisure and hospitality. The July jobs report also shows a loss of 1,900 construction jobs in July.

By Mackenzi Klemann

Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.

Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.

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