LIMA — After a year of record-setting jobless rates, unemployment is on the rise again in west central Ohio.
Every county in the nine-county Lima region saw jobless rates increase from December to January, according to the latest data released by the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services on Tuesday.
And while unemployment often goes up in January, as companies no longer need holiday help, a look at jobless rates from January 2019 suggests the bump may not be entirely seasonal.
Allen County’s jobless rate rose from 3.8% in December 2019 to 5.3% in January 2020, an increase of 1.5 percentage points. Compare that to January 2019, when the county’s jobless rate was 4.9%.
The county’s labor force has also fallen off since this time last year too. While there were about 2,500 unemployed persons in Allen County in January 2019 and January 2020, according to preliminary estimates documented by The Lima News, the labor force has shrunk from 48,100 in January 2019 to 45,200 last month.
But it remains to be seen whether the January jobless rates reflect a broader trend or are simply a blip in an otherwise strong economy.
Nearly 1,500 jobs are available within a 10-mile radius of Lima, according to the latest listings from Ohio Means Jobs Allen County.
And Joe Patton, executive director of Ohio Means Jobs-Allen County and the Allen County Department of Job & Family Services, says he still hears from companies that are ready to expand but need help finding workers.
“Their only problem is the people to do it, or the parts they need to get moving ahead,” Patton said. “I do believe the environment is ripe for growth. Deregulations have set them up to go in that direction.”
Ohio’s jobless rate was unchanged from December to January at 4.1%, while the U.S. unemployment rate increased 0.1 percentage points to 3.6%.
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.