County jobless rate dips in November

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 8, 2003

In spite of a lackluster economy, Lawrence County's unemployment rate declined in November of last year. According to new figures released last week by the State of Ohio, Lawrence County's unemployment rate stood at 5.9 percent, down from 6.2 percent in October 2002.

Lawrence County's positive news is in keeping with state figures.

Ohio's unemployment rate was 5.4 percent in November, 2002, down from 5.6 percent in October.

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"Traditionally speaking, Lawrence County has historically been a point or two above the state figures," said Buddy Martin, Lawrence County Jobs and Family Services director. "But for the last year, or year and a half, we've been staying right around the state figure, and that's a plus for Lawrence County. We've never done that before.

Whenever we can stay close to the state rate we're doing pretty well."

Martin said the such construction projects as the Duke Energy plant, the Marathon-Ashland pipeline, and a number of new school facilities have helped the area's economy and, hence, its unemployment rate. Martin said traditionally, construction jobs have been an important component of the area's economy.

State officials said construction aided the state's economy as a whole in the last part of 2002.

"While November's unemployment is lower than the previous month's, a closer look reveals no actual improvements in Ohio's

labor market," state ODJFS Director Tom Hayes said. "With the exception of increased employment in the construction sector, employment was down slightly, reinforcing the continued sluggish market."

Among the state's 88 counties, the November 2002 unemployment rates ranged from a low of 3 percent in Holmes County to a high of 12.7 percent in Morgan County. Rates increased in over half of the counties. The comparable rate for Ohio for November was 5.2 percent.

The U.S. unemployment rate for November was 6 percent, up 0.3 percentage point from October.