The Fulton County unemployment rate in August was 9.7%.
August was the first time unemployment in the county, as estimated by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, had dropped from double digits since December 2008, when it hit 10.5%. It hit a high of 16% in January 2010.
Lisa Arend, Fulton County economic development director, said she thought the main reason unemployment was down in August was because people who had been receiving unemployment were running out of benefits.
Once a person exhausts his benefits, he no longer counts in unemployment statistics.
Arend said some companies in the county have done some hiring, but the number of new hires is very small.
“Not enough to offset unemployment,” she said.
Jim Wyse, Archbold mayor, agreed.
“While certainly the reduction appears to be a positive, if you look at the numbers in some depth, it remains depressing.
“One of the factors helping the percentage rate look better is that in the past four months, Fulton County has seen the size of our work force decrease by 600 workers.”
During 2010, the Fulton County labor force has fluctuated from a high of 23,100 in February to a low of 22,400 in August.
In May, ODJFS estimated the county labor force was 23,000, with 20,300 employed and 2,700 out of work.
In June, the estimates were 22,800, with 20,100 employed and 2,700 seeking employment– a loss of 200.
July saw the total labor force fall to 22,700. ODJFS estimated there were still 20,100 employed workers, and 2,600 out of work. That equals a loss of another 100.
For August, the county labor force was estimated at 22,400. The ranks of the employed increased to 20,200, but the number of unemployed workers fell to 2,200, a drop of 300.
When the four months are combined, the overall decline in labor force is 600.
During the 20 months county unemployment was in double digits, the percentage only reached 16% once. There were three months when unemployment was more than 15%, five months when it was 14% or higher, and four months when it was 13% or higher.
Unemployment was 12% or greater during four months. There were two months when unemployment was in the 11%-12% range, and only one month at 10% or higher.
Wyse said, “We need to see some job creation take place.
“On a positive note, we are pleased to see that on Sept. 27, Ruralogic (an information technology start-up company located in Bryan, Archbold, and Napoleon) will have training for their first group of potential employees begin at Northwest State Community College.
“They also have begun planning for a second class within the next two months, and more classes will be added as they move forward.
“It is news from firms like Ruralogic and talks with other local firms exploring job growth opportunities that cause me to remain optimistic.
“When we see some of those opportunities become reality, I will feel better than I do seeing the current unemployment statistics,” Wyse said.
Fulton County had the lowest unemployment rate in the four-county area in August at 9.7%, ODJFS said. The Fulton County rate was down 1.8 percentage points from the July figure of 11.5%.
Fulton County tied with Athens County in southeastern Ohio for the 54th-highest unemployment rate in the state.
Clinton County, in southwestern Ohio, had the highest rate, at 15.6%. Holmes County, in east-central Ohio, had the lowest rate, at 6.7%.
All county data is not seasonally adjusted. The unadjusted unemployment rate for Ohio as a whole was 9.7% in August, compared to 9.5% for the nation as a whole.
When seasonal adjustments are applied, the Ohio unemployment is 10.1%, while the US figure is 9.6%.
While it is always difficult to understand and predict the future economic conditions, today, it is doubly so.
“The economy has never been the way it is now before,” Arend said.
“It’s an unknown world.”– David Pugh
Money can’t buy you happiness. But it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery.– Spike Milligan
in the Four County area
*Revised from original announcement.
: lowest unemployment rate in
the four county area.
Figures are not seasonally adjusted.
Statistics are estimates from the Ohio Department
of Job & Family Services, Bureau of Labor
Market Information. Archbold Buckeye chart.