County jobless rate under 7 percent
DAVE MOSIER/independent editor
For the first time, Van Wert County’s unemployment rate is back to pre-recession levels, according to figures released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
The county’s jobless rate in May was at 6.9 percent, the first time it has been under 7 percent since May 2008. The county followed a statewide trend, with 84 of 88 Ohio counties showing a decrease in unemployment last month (click here for larger jobless rate map).
With the good news, though, also comes an indication of the possible impact the recession had on the county. Unemployment figures from May 2008 indicate show that the county had a workforce of 15,400 people — 1,200 more than the 14,200 reported in May of this year. Some of the loss may from workers leaving the area to seek work, while other possible explanations include long-term unemployed giving up and Baby Boomers retiring.
If a significant number of workers have left the county to take jobs elsewhere, the lower workforce numbers could also have an impact on county population totals down the road.
Last month, a total of 13,200 people were employed in the county, with 1,000 people listed as unemployed. The 6.9 jobless percentage is a big improvement over a year ago, when the county’s unemployment rate was at 9.1 percent.
Neighboring counties also showed marked improvement in unemployment for May, with Mercer County again leading the state and two other neighboring counties listed in the top seven in unemployment. Mercer County’s jobless rate in May was 4.2 percent, down from 4.5 percent in April. Putnam County showed a big drop, from 5.9 percent in April to 5.4 percent last month, while Auglaize County’s unemployment rate decreased from 5.9 percent to 5.5 percent in May.
Other neighboring counties also decreased, including Paulding County, where unemployment fell from 7.0 percent to 6.6 percent, and Allen County, whose jobless rate was 7.5 percent, down from 8.0 percent in April.
In addition to Mercer, Putnam and Auglaize, other counties with unemployment rates under 5.5 percent included Holmes, 4.7; Delaware, 4.9; Union, 5.2; and Geauga, 5.5 percent.
At the other end of the scale, five counties had unemployment rates above 10.0 percent during May. The counties with the highest rates were Pike, 12.6: Meigs, 11.7; Scioto, 10.5; Morgan, 10.4; and Jefferson, 10.1 percent.