December jobless rate remains steady

By Mackenzi Klemann -

LIMA — There was no consistent trend in December’s unemployment report, save for this: the region continues to boast some of the lowest unemployment rates in the state.

Mercer, Auglaize, Allen and Logan counties saw no change in their jobless rates from November to December; Putnam, Hardin and Shelby counties saw minor, 0.1 percentage point increases in unemployment; and Hancock and Van Wert counties saw their unemployment rates drop slightly.

It was an anti-climactic end to 2019, a year in which the nine-county region briefly saw some of the lowest unemployment rates the area has recorded since the 1970s.

While jobless rates around the region have gone up since reaching historic lows last spring, unemployment has remained relatively low and stable since the fall.

Allen County, for example, hasn’t seen much change in its jobless rate since October. The county’s unemployment rate fell to 3% in April, a 50-year low, but steadily climbed through the summer, peaking at 4.8% in July. The county’s jobless rate abruptly fell to 4.2% the following month and then gradually stabilized through the end of the year.

That trend held throughout the region, with Mercer County continuing its streak as the county with the lowest jobless rate in Ohio. But Auglaize, Putnam and Hancock counties weren’t far behind. And most of the region boasts lower jobless rates than the state of Ohio, which ended 2019 with 4.2% unemployment, unchanged from November.

Ohio added 9,800 jobs in December, with gains in construction (+3,400), manufacturing (+1,100), education and health services (+3,400), financial activities (+1,700), leisure and hospitality (+900), trade, transportation and utilities (+700) and professional and business services (+200).

By Mackenzi Klemann

Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.

Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.

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