LIMA — Unemployment rates ticked downward in seven of the nine counties in the region in December, according to data released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services.
Allen County’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.4%, down 0.1 percentage point from November. That’s the lowest unemployment rate for the county since it hit 3.2% back in May 2019.
It also marked the third-straight month the jobless rate went down in Allen County, even though the labor force grew by 400 people. There are now 46,400 employed people in the county, the highest since December 2019.
That’s a marked improvement from December 2020, when Allen County’s rate was 4.8%.
There are still opportunities, too, with OhioMeansJobs.com reporting 2,301 job openings within 10 miles of Lima on Tuesday morning. That’s roughly 700 more jobs available than unemployed people to fill them.
Regional counties had three of the five lowest unemployment rates in Ohio in December. Mercer County came in at No. 2 at 2.1%, while Auglaize County was No. 4 at 2.4%.
Putnam County was fifth at 2.4%, up from November’s historic low of 2.1%. Even that has a ray of sunshine, with the county adding 100 people into the workforce while maintaining its employment levels.
Statewide, the unemployment rate was 4.5%, slightly behind the national unemployment rate of 3.9%. Holmes County had the lowest jobless rate in the state at 2.0%, while Monroe County was the highest at 6.0%.
Comparing December’s numbers to a year prior, most area counties have unemployment rates of at least 1 percentage point lower. Hardin County had the biggest improvement, with a 1.5 percentage point decrease to 3.2% unemployment in December 2021.