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Published: Wednesday, 11/27/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Jobless figures trend higher locally

BY TYREL LINKHORN
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

unemployment rates across northwestern Ohio are trending higher than they were a year ago as the economy deals with what one economist on Tuesday called a “speed bump” now that the recovery in manufacturing has matured.

State officials released county unemployment estimates for the months of September and October on Tuesday, making up for a delay brought on by the government shutdown in early October.

The figures showed what the area’s been seeing for several months now — higher unemployment rates.

Lucas County’s rate in September was 8.3 percent, compared with 7.4 percent in September, 2012. The October rate was lower, at 8 percent, but still up considerably from the 7.3 percent reported in October, 2012.

The unemployment rate for the city of Toledo was 8.9 percent in September and 8.7 percent in October. Both were nearly a full percentage point higher than the same month last year.

Because the county and city rates are not seasonally adjusted, economists caution against month-to-month comparisons.

Still, looking at where the economy is now versus where it was a year ago gives some insight into what’s happened over the last 12 months, and it hasn’t been great.

“The state hit what appears to be a bit of a speed bump this summer, particularly with manufacturing,” said Mekael Teshome, an economist with Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank. “There was a slowdown in manufacturing production and a little bit of job loss as well in the industry. I think that’s kind of rippled through, especially northern Ohio.

Based on data released Tuesday, the unemployment rates in all four counties that comprise metro Toledo are higher in October than they were at the same point last year.

The biggest jump was in Fulton County, where last month’s rate was 7.4 percent. In October, 2012, Fulton County’s rate was 6.3 percent. Ottawa County was at 8.1 percent, up from 7.1 percent last year. Wood County was at 6.8 percent last month, compared with 6 percent in 2012.

The seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate for Ohio was 7.5 percent in October, up from 7.4 percent in September and 6.9 percent in October, 2012.

Mr. Teshome believes the lag in Ohio’s recovery will be temporary and that manufacturing will continue to grow, albeit on a more normal, slow track in 2014.

“I do see 2014 being better than 2013,” he said. “This speed bump is temporary and we’re coming into the tail end of that speed bump.”

The state’s lowest unemployment rate in October was in Mercer County, where 4.3 percent of the labor force was unemployed. The highest rate in October was in Meigs County, which was at 12 percent unemployment.

Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at tlinkhorn@theblade.com or 419-724-6134.



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