By Wayne Gates
The unemployment rate in Brown County rose from 4.5 percent in May to 5.8 percent in June, but not necessarily because more people are out of work.
The jobless rate rose in every county in Ohio as more people were placed in what is called the Civilian Labor Force.
Between May and June, 57,000 people were added statewide to the number of people who are considered to be looking for work. One hundred were added in Brown County.
“That includes some seniors who have graduated from high school and college as well as those who are just re-entering the labor market after a long time,” said Debora Plymail of Ohio Means Jobs.
Plymail is the Director of OMJ is Brown and Adams counties. She said that the long-term unemployed coming back to the job market is the sign of a strong local economy.
“A lot of people had kind of lost hope that there were jobs for them to find. Now, more of them are in the labor force and are being counted,” she said.
“We have lots of openings coming through our office. A lot of employers are looking for people. Large and small manufactures and health care are both strong areas where people are needed.”
The 4.5 unemployment rate in May continued a recent trend where the numbers were the lowest seen in almost fifty years.
“I’ve been with the agency for 29 years and I think this is the lowest that I recall seeing the unemployment rate,” Plymail said.
She added that the number of unemployed people in the area is also up because of the recent closings of the DP&L JM Stuart and Killen plants.
“We are seeing a lot of people that were laid off at those plants coming in to investigate going back to school or doing some training. Some funds are available to pay for some of that because of the plant closings,” Plymail said,
She said that she expects the good numbers to extend to the end of the year and beyond.
“I don’t foresee a big change in the numbers in Brown or Adams counties in the next six months,” Plymail said.
The Adams County unemployment rate went from 5.6 in May to 7.5 percent in June. Clermont County rose from 3.7 to 4.8 percent, Clinton County saw an increase from 4.7 to 6.2 percent and Highland County saw its rate go from 4.8 percent in May to 6.3 percent in June.
The regional rate, which includes Hamilton, Clermont, Brown, Warren and Butler counties, saw a jump in June to 4.9 percent, up from 3.7 percent in May, Statewide, the jobless rate rose to 5.3 percent from 4.1 percent.
The highest unemployment rate in the state in June was in Monroe County at 7.9 percent. Meigs County was in second place at 7.8 percent and Athens County was in third place at 7.6 percent.
Adams County jumped to the fourth highest unemployment rate in the state at 7.5 percent. Brown County had the 25th highest unemployment rate in Ohio at 5.8 percent.
The county with the lowest unemployment rate in the state was Mercer County at 3.3 percent.