Lawrence County jobless declines

Published 2:03 pm Monday, December 1, 2008

In spite of a grim national economic outlook, Lawrence County’s jobless rate actually declined in October.

It was the second straight month Lawrence posted a decrease and follows a nearly three-year trend. Statewide, the jobless rate rose slightly from September to October.

According to figures released last week by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Lawrence County’s October unemployment rate was 5.7 percent, down from September’s 6.2 percent, and that was a decrease from the 6.4 percent the county posted in August.

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Dr. Bill Dingus, executive director of the Greater Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, said there are a couple of reasons why the jobless rate here is lower than in other places.

“Our employment is largely tied to the mining industry, the logistics industry and to date Lawrence County has even had some recent growth in basic manufacturing and these are not the types of jobs that are ‘easy in and easy out,’” Dingus said.

However, he cautioned that if the national economy continues to struggle, Lawrence County will eventually suffer as well.

Lawrence County continues to fare better than many of its neighbors. Both Meigs and Pike counties had October jobless rates of more than 10 percent. Scioto County’s jobless rate in October was 9.1 percent; Ross County’s unemployment rate was 8.8 percent.

Lawrence County’s October unemployment rate was better than that posted in Hamilton County (6.1 percent), Clermont County (6.2 percent) and Cuyahoga County (6.6 percent).

Lawrence County’s unemployment rate has, with few exceptions, stayed within the range of 6.6 and 4.8 percent since January 2005.

Statewide, Ohio’s unemployment rate was 7.3 percent in October, up slightly from 7.2 percent in September.

“Ohio’s labor market continued to reflect a weakening national economy,” ODJFS Assistant Director Sherry Keys-Hebron said. “Job losses occurred in both the goods-producing and service-providing industries as the unemployment rate increased slightly to 7.3 percent.”