LIMA — The region’s unemployment picture looked rosy in February, with decreased unemployment rates, larger labor forces and more people employed in most area counties.
The numbers, released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, offer a baseline on how Ohio was doing just before the coronavirus struck, sidelining many workers in professions deemed unsafe or nonessential.
Allen County saw its rate drop to 4.9%, with its largest labor force — 48,100 — since October. That’s compared to 5.3% unemployment in January and 3.3% last February. The numbers are not seasonally adjusted.
Putnam County saw a big decline, from 4.3% in January to 3.7% in February. That’s 400 more people in the workforce, with 400 more people working and 100 fewer people unemployed. In comparison, the county showed 3.8% unemployment in February 2019.
Auglaize County also saw its numbers drop, down 0.1 percentage points from January to February’s 3.6%. That’s slightly higher than last year’s 3.3%.
Overall, Ohio’s unemployment rate was 4.7%, and the national unemployment rate was 3.8%.
Ohio saw the largest growth in the administrative and support for waste management and remediation services, with growth of 0.98% from January to February. The largest decrease was in educational services, with a 2.16% decrease.
The region is expecting to see a steep increase in unemployment once the March numbers come out. Last week, Ohioans filed 187,784 unemployment claims, and that was with a system state officials admitted couldn’t keep up with the influx of new filings after Gov. Mike DeWine’s “stay at home” order for nonessential businesses and employees.