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Unemployment rate climbs to 8.5 percent

IRONTON — Lawrence County’s jobless rate increased one-tenth of 1 percent for the month of October, ending a one-month decrease that saw the county’s unemployment rate drop during the month of September.

With the increase, the county’s unemployment rate again ranks 10th best among Ohio’s 88 counties for the second consecutive month, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services who released its county-by-county labor statistics Tuesday.

For the month of October, Lawrence County had a jobless rate of 8.5 percent compared to 8.4 percent for the month of September.

The county’s unemployment rate was at 5.5 percent one year ago.

According to the ODJFS, the county had an estimated civilian labor force in September of 29,100 with about 2,500 people out of work last month.

The state compiles its unemployment list based on sample areas in each county. The figures are not based on the number of people filing for unemployment compensation or those who have exhausted benefits.

“It’s not getting any better and it’s not getting any worse,” said Gene Myers, director of the Lawrence County Department of Jobsand Family Services.

Myers said the new figures continue to show the high need for assistance within the county. To date, Myers said nearly 31 percent of all county residents are receiving some sort of governmental assistance.

He added that 20 percent of residents — or one in five — are receiving food stamps while 23 percent are obtaining some sort of Medicaid assistance.

Myers also said that while unemployment within the county is at 8.5 percent, he believes “true unemployment” within the county is three percentage points higher.

True unemployment rates also take into consideration those who have given up looking for a new job or have seen their benefits end.

In line with the Lawrence County increase, Ohio’s unemployment rate jumped to 10.5 percent in October, up from an adjusted 10.1 percent in September.

The state’s unemployment rate was 6.6 percent one year ago.

The number of workers unemployed in Ohio in October was 618,000, up from 594,000 in September. The number of unemployed statewide has increased by 209,000 in the past 12 months from 409,000.

“Ohio’s labor market continued to show weakness in October,” ODJFS Director Douglas Lumpkin said. “The unemployment rate increased to 10.5 percent as more Ohioans were unemployed and seeking work while the number of goods-producing and service producing jobs increased slightly.”

The state’s non-farming wage and salary employment increased by 1,400 over the month from 5,097,000 in September to 5,098,400 in October, according to ODJFS data.

The U.S. unemployment rate for October was 10.2 percent, up from 9.8 percent in September.

Among the state’s 88 counties, the October 2009 unemployment rates ranged from a low of 6.7 percent in Geauga County to a high of 15.9 percent in Highland County. Rates increased in 72 of the state’s 88 counties.

Six counties had unemployment rates at or below 8 percent in October.

The counties with the lowest rates other than Geauga County were: Holmes County, 7.0 percent; Delaware County, 7.1 percent; Medina County, 7.5 percent; Mercer County, 7.8 percent and Lake County, 7.9 percent.

Seven counties had unemployment rates above 15 percent during October.

The counties with the highest rates other than Highland County were: Pike County 15.1 percent; Clinton County 14.8 percent; Morgan County 14.6 percent; Williams County 14.6 percent; Meigs County 14.5 percent and Noble County 14.5 percent.

Scioto County’s jobless rate in October was 12.4 percent, up three-tenths of 1 percent from September when it stood at 12.1 percent.