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Published: Wednesday, 9/21/2011

Jobless rates decline in NW Ohio, Toledo

Rural regions show sharpest drops



Jobless rates in all 16 counties of northwest Ohio and the city of Toledo dropped in August and remain well below levels from the same month a year ago as hiring slowly improves across the region, according to a report released yesterday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Across the four-county metro region, the jobless rate in August fell to 9.6 percent. Still, the report said 31,500 people were unemployed, down 2,200 from July. Jobless rates had the sharpest declines in more rural regions of northwest Ohio in August.

Mike Veh, work-force development manager at The Source, Lucas County's one-stop shop for unemployment services, said the local market remains fragmented for job-seekers, depending on what types of jobs they're seeking.

"If you're an electrical engineer, you're OK," he said. "But if you worked in manufacturing, you're going to have a hard time finding another job to replace the one you had."

The agency held a local jobs fair last week for part-time and temporary jobs, and had 10 employers who were on-site actively hiring, Mr. Veh said. On Oct. 4, The Source will participate in a job fair for workers aged 50-plus at The Pinnacle in Maumee.

"It's the monthly things that we've been doing, the more targeted events, that seem to be getting good responses," Mr. Veh said.

Ken Mayland, an economist with ClearView Economics in suburban Cleveland, said the declining jobless rates in northwest Ohio are a reflection of the region's strong manufacturing base, and the U.S. manufacturing sector is leading a national recovery.

"Manufacturing has come back, overall, faster than the remainder of the economy, and auto production [and suppliers] has come back even faster than that," he said. "We've got a little bit of wind behind our sails here. Let's just hope it keeps blowing in the right direction."

Contact Larry P. Vellequette at: lvellequette@theblade.com or 419-724-6091.

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