Allen County sees slight uptick in December jobless claims

LIMA — Allen County’s unemployment rate increased by 0.3 percentage points to 3.7% in December, according to labor force estimates released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The change in unemployment was due to an increase in jobless claims (+200) and the size of the labor force, which gained 300 people from November to December, meaning more people were working or actively seeking employment.

Still, BLS estimates show an overall decline in labor force participation in December, as Allen County reported 800 fewer workers or people seeking employment last month compared to 12 months ago.

Allen County reported a 3.7% jobless rate this time last year.

Meanwhile, Mercer County reported the lowest unemployment rate in Ohio (2.1%) in December, while Auglaize County claimed the third-lowest jobless rate (2.6%).

Van Wert, Hancock and Putnam counties saw similarly low jobless rates, ranking among the 10 counties with the lowest unemployment rates in Ohio.

Nationwide, jobless claims have fallen 0.2 percentage points to 3.5% since October.

But Ohio’s unemployment rate has remained at 4.2% since October — 11th highest in the U.S.

While Ohio added 3,100 private-sector jobs last month — a 0.1 percentage point increase over November and a 2% increase compared to 12 months ago — BLS estimates show the state lost 2,300 retail trade jobs, 9,000 professional and business services jobs and 10,900 administrative, support and waste management jobs in December.