Labor force growth behind unemployment spike

By Mackenzi Klemann -

LIMA — Jobless claims in Allen County rose for the second consecutive month in June. But the county’s labor force also grew, suggesting more people have returned to the workforce.

The latest figures from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services show unemployment rising to 4.1% Allen County in June, up from 3.2% in May and 3% in April. Those same figures show the county’s labor force growing to 49,000 in June – an increase of 1,300 from May – reversing a two-month downward trend in labor force participation.

“(Unemployment) is rising for what I would call the right reason,” said David McClough, associate professor of economics for the Dicke College of Business at Ohio Northern University. “More people are entering the labor force.”

That spike in labor force participation may be partly seasonal, as construction and leisure and hospitality were two of the industries with reported jobs gains in Allen County last month, according to Ohio Department of Job and Family Services estimates. But the county also saw growth in manufacturing and trade, transportation and utilities.

The entire region saw an uptick in jobless claims in June. But, much like Allen County, workforce participation is likely to play a part as BLS estimates show all but Hardin County saw labor force growth from May to June.

Unemployment remains lower in the west central Ohio region than elsewhere in the state, with Mercer County once again claiming the lowest unemployment rate in Ohio at 2.7% in June.

Even with jobless claims rising in June, unemployment has remained at near 50-year lows across the region in 2019.

Allen County started the year with 5.1% unemployment, which fell to a record low 3% in April. And June’s 4.1% jobless rate is among the lowest recorded in the county since 1970. our interactive database of unemployment rates.

By Mackenzi Klemann

Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.

Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.

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