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Published: Saturday, 7/17/2004

Toledo lost 9,650 jobs in last 3 years

BY JULIE M. McKINNON
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

Toledo last month had nearly 9,650 fewer jobs than during the recession in June, 2001, as the number of employed residents again took a hit and the jobless rate neared 10 percent, according to state statistics released yesterday.

Northwest Ohio's largest city, some experts say, is an illustration of the jobless recovery happening statewide. Ohio had more than 122,000 fewer jobs last month than in the 2001 recession's June, a month when employment typically is low as automakers and suppliers begin summer shutdowns, according to statistics from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and the U.S. Department of Labor. Ohio's unemployment rate was 5.8 percent in June.

In January, employment in Toledo fell to its lowest level in more than a decade when the number of jobs slipped to 141,058. The city's labor market then began a gradual recovery, increasing every month until June, when the number of jobs fell to 143,900 from 145,000 in May. Last month's labor market performance was also below that of June 2003, when there were 4,500 more jobs and the unemployment rate was 9.7 percent. Joblessness in Toledo was 9.9 percent last month.

The local job recovery is slower than expected, but manufacturers are beginning to undertake capital improvement projects, a key signal for growth, said Eileen Granata, acting chief operating officer of Toledo's Regional Growth Partnership.

Those plans would be jeopardized, though, if the national recovery stalls, Ms. Granata said. "I still think we're going to see some recovery in the second half of the year," Ms. Granata said.

An important point to make is that job losses overall have been reversed, said Richard DeKaser, chief economist at National City Corp. in Cleveland.

"The hemorrhaging of jobs is behind us," he said. "The growth is now under way, although it has been far from robust."

The region last month had counties with unemployment rates at the low and the high ends of the scale, according to state statistics. Hancock and Van Wert counties were among those with the lowest unemployment rates at 4.3 percent and 4.7 percent, respectively, while Huron County was among the highest at 9.5 percent.

Hancock County had 540 fewer jobs last month than in June, 2001, the year during which recession officially lasted from March until November. Van Wert County had nearly 1,300 fewer jobs last month than in June, 2001, and Huron had nearly 2,100 fewer.

Lucas County, meanwhile, had an unemployment rate of 8.5 percent last month. The county had 14,050 fewer jobs last month than in June, 2001.

Contact Julie M. McKinnon at:

jmckinnon@theblade.com

or 419-724-6087.



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