By Patricia Beech
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has reported that Ohio’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 4.2 was unchanged from April to May 2018, and remained higher than the national rate of 3.8 percent for the 12th consecutive month.
The BLS also reported that Adams County’s unemployment rate dropped in the same period of time from 6.0 to 5.4 percent.
According to Debora Plymail, Director of OhioMeansJobs for Adams and Brown Counties, the drop in numbers comes as no surprise.
“Our county’s unemployment rate usually changes because of better weather, but from October through January our rate tends to go up because employers aren’t hiring as much,” she says. “We’re used to seeing that kind of employment cycle in our county. It’s been that way for the entire 28 years that I’ve worked here.”
She says her office is “seeing quite a few local jobs come across our desks”.
“The wages aren’t exactly what we like to see, but for someone just starting out in the workforce on an entry level job, it will do until they get experience and move up to a better wage.”
Plymail said young people seeking seasonal work during the summer months also impacts the local job market numbers.
“We don’t see as many young people coming into the center during the summer, but we do see an increase in our youth applications beginning in mid-April,” she says. “Through our youth program, which assists young people from ages 14 to 24, we have placed approximately 90 young adults on work sites across Adams County.”
As director of OhioMeansJobs, Plymail oversees a two-pronged program that offers both job-training services and job-searching services, which are available to everyone, “from GED’s to PHD’s” at no cost.
“We call them the universal customer,” she says. “We tell everyone we’re just another tool in your tool box to help you as you’re looking for a job.”
Dislocated and soon-to-be-dislocated workers from the J.M. Stuart and Killen coal-fired power plants in Manchester are among those who used resources offered by the OhioMeansJobs office.
“We had 282 visits from 202 individuals at our Transition Center in Manchester,” says Plymail. “After the center closes we’ll continue to see the DP&L workers in our Winchester and Brown County offices.”
The closure of the Transition Center is scheduled to coincide with the final shut down of the power plants in June.
Among the state’s 88 counties, preliminary May unemployment rates ranged from a low of 2.5 percent in Mercer County to a high of 6.5 percent in Monroe County.
According to BLS, from April, unemployment rates decreased in 41 counties, increased in 32 counties, and didn’t change at all in 15 counties.
The comparable rate for Ohio was 4.2 percent in May.
Five counties had unemployment rates at or below 3.0 percent in May. Those with the lowest rates, other than Mercer were: Holmes, Putnam, and Wyandot with 2.9 percent and Auglaize with 3.0 percent.
Eight counties had unemployment rates at or above 5.5 percent in the same period including: Monroe at 6.5 percent; Scioto, 5.8 percent; Coshocton and Jackson, 5.6 percent; and Jefferson, Noble, and Pike, 5.5 percent.