LIMA — Jobless rates continued to fall in June as the Lima region slowly recovers from historic job losses in March and April.
But parts of the nine-county region are still witnessing double-digit unemployment; Ohio is still reporting more than 30,000 new jobless claims each week; and a surge in new COVID-19 cases threatens the state’s economic recovery.
While the number of job openings in the area has steadily improved since May, June saw an average of 1,400 jobs advertised within a 10-mile of radius of Lima while 5,300 people remained unemployed across Allen County, according to data from Ohio Means Jobs-Allen County and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
As of July 13, the number of job openings within a 10-mile radius of Lima surpassed 1,700.
Ohio gained 208,000 jobs in June — including 195,300 private-sector jobs — with notable gains in hospitality and leisure (plus 82,300 jobs) and accommodation and food service (plus 74,900 jobs), two of the hardest-hit industries during the pandemic.
The state was still 544,600 jobs shy of where it was in June 2019, a 10% decline.
There may be more job losses ahead if Ohio’s recent surge in COVID-19 cases is not quickly controlled.
“It’s going to take a while before businesses are ready to start hiring people back, especially now that you’re starting to see a resurgence (of COVID-19 in) some places,” said John Navin, professor and dean of the Dicke College of Business Administration at Ohio Northern University. “Businesses are going to be nervous because they don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Van Wert County was the lone exception to the improvement trend, reporting an increase in unemployment of 1.8 percentage points from May to June. But that increase appears to reflect growth in the county’s labor force, suggesting more people are seeking employment.
Stacy Adam, executive director of Van Wert County Economic Development, noted several prominent manufacturing facilities enacted temporary, week-long plant closures.
Ohio’s unemployment rate fell below the U.S. jobless rate in June.
The state’s jobless rate fell 3% from May to 10.9% last month, while the U.S. saw a 2.2 percentage point drop to 11.1% in June.