LIMA — The number of people working in Allen County in February hit its highest level since a year ago, right before the coronavirus pandemic slashed the number of people working, according to statistics released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
The number of people in Allen County’s labor force also reached its highest number since last May. The gap between those numbers left Allen County with a disappointing-looking 6.7% unemployment rate — up from 5.8% in January — that betrayed the numbers that feed into that formula.
Allen County’s labor force of 49,000 people in February matched the number from May 2020, and the 45,700 employed people was the highest since February 2020. There were 3,300 people without jobs.
The numbers are greatly improved on April 2020, when Allen County had 20.5% unemployment and 10,000 people looking for jobs.
Unemployment numbers across the region showed much of the same information. While the unemployment rates went up in Auglaize, Hancock, Mercer and Putnam counties, they all saw the labor force increase while the number of employed people remained steady or grew since January.
Jobless rates went down in Hardin, Logan and Shelby counties, while the rate was stable in Van Wert County.
In Auglaize County, the 4.4% unemployment rate is the 10th-lowest in Ohio. Its unemployment rate went up 0.4 percentage points to 4.4%, as the labor force and number of unemployed people each both grew by 100 people.
Putnam County had the ninth-lowest unemployment rate in the state. The unemployment rate there is now 4.3%, up 0.5 percentage points from its January number, but its number of employed people went up by 100. The labor force grew by 200, and the number of unemployment people went up 100.
Mercer County had the fourth-lowest unemployment rate in the state at 3.7%.
There were 69,368 initial unemployment claims reported in the week of March 14-20, according to ODJFS, and 7,400 were flagged for potential fraud. There were 3 million initial jobless claims filed in Ohio over the past 53 weeks, more than the combined total of 2013-2019. The state distributed $9.1 billion in unemployment compensation payments to more than 979,000 Ohioans over the past 53 weeks. There was an added $9.9 billion in federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance payments to more than 1 million Ohioans over that timeframe.
Reach David Trinko at 567-242-0467 or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.