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Published: Wednesday, 7/23/2008

Area rolls of jobless increase in month

BY LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
Sharon Morris, foreground, and Keith Ramm fill out online emploment applications at The Source.
Sharon Morris, foreground, and Keith Ramm fill out online emploment applications at The Source.
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Mark Fair sat at a computer yesterday morning staring with a growing sense of frustration at a long list of jobs that he's applied for.

"The economy is in a recession, and not many people are going to be hiring because of that fact," the 25-year-old Toledoan said, after detailing months of fruitless job searches.

"The jobs are leaving Ohio. They're going to Mexico or to India. They need to keep the jobs here."

The computer he was using was at The Source, at Monroe and 13th streets near downtown Toledo, Lucas County's one-stop shop for help in finding a job. And he wasn't lonely.

The ranks of the unemployed swelled dramatically across northwest Ohio last month, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, which released county-level jobless estimates yesterday.

The increase in unemployment across Ohio over the last two months - a full percentage point - was the largest two-month jump in the Buckeye state since 1981.

Not every sector was bleak.

Service industries added 6,400 jobs in June, and leisure and hospitality employers added 2,900 jobs in Ohio, as did the government sector. Durable-good manufacturing added 1,600 jobs.

The greatest job losses in June were in educational and health services, which lost 1,200 jobs, and the financial sector, which dropped 600 jobs.

Defiance County had the highest local unemployment rate in June at 8.9 percent, shooting up over 53 percent from the prior month's 5.8 percent.

State officials said about 1,900 of the county's work force of 21,300 were actively seeking jobs.

Huron County was the only other northwest Ohio county with a jobless rate topping 8 percent, with 2,400 unemployed and a rate of 8.1 percent. That number does not reflect the abrupt shutdown this week of one of its largest employers, Norwalk Furniture Corp., and the loss of over 500 jobs.

Within the city of Toledo, 8.5 percent of the 146,300 adult workers were seeking a job, and the Lucas County rate jumped to 7.8 percent.

Those higher numbers of unemployed do not include thousands of workers whose factories were shut down this month to help domestic automakers deal with excessive inventories of unsold vehicles. Those cuts won't be reported until next month, but for those looking for work, the growing sense of frustration is palpable.

"I'm looking for anything right about now," said Toledoan Sasha Clayborne, who recently lost her job as a deli clerk at a local retailer and was polishing her resume yesterday. "There's not really anything out there right now, but I'm going to go home and do more research on the Internet."

Statewide, Ohio had a 6.6 percent unemployment rate for June, up from 6.3 percent in May and from 5.7 percent in June, 2007.

Michigan's unemployment rate remained flat in June at 8.5 percent, but still was the highest in the nation. Nationally, the unemployment rate remained flat at 5.5 percent, up from 4.6 percent in June, 2007.

Contact Larry P. Vellequette at:

lvellequette@theblade.com

or 419-724-6091.



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