On Wednesday, the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services released its latest unemployment figures covering December 2018.
For Scioto County, the good news is the area dropped from third to sixth in terms of percentage of persons unemployed.
The bad news is, the ranking dropped because unemployment went up across the state in all 88 Ohio counties, including Scioto.
For December, the state estimated Scioto County had a 7.4 percent unemployment rate. That’s up at least slightly from the November figure of 7.1 percent. The number is also an increase from December 2017 when the jobless rate was given as 6.8 percent.
Overall, for December 2018, the jobless rate in Ohio was given as 4.8 percent. Again, that was a slight increase from 4.6 percent in November.
Nationwide, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. unemployment rate rose 0.2 percent to 3.9 percent in December. While the bureau reported the number of non-farm jobs increased by approximately 312,000 in December, the number of unemployed persons increased by 276,000 to 6.3 million.
A year earlier, the jobless rate was 4.1 percent, and the number of unemployed persons was 6.6 million.
Among Ohio’s 88 counties, preliminary December unemployment rates ranged from a low of 3.1 percent in Mercer County to a high of 9.2 percent in Monroe County.
Three counties had unemployment rates at or below 3.5 percent in December. The counties with the lowest rates, other than Mercer, were Delaware and Holmes at 3.5 percent each.
Four counties had unemployment rates above 8.0 percent in December. The counties with the highest rates, other than Monroe were: Ottawa, 8.4 percent; Adams, 8.3 percent; and Noble, 8.1 percent.
Scioto County’s labor force was estimated at 28,900. Of that number, 26,800 were considered employed. Some 2,200 were listed as unemployed.
Scioto County Board of Commissioners Chairman Michael Crabtree was not readily available for comment for this story. In the past, when discussing unemployment figures, County Commissioner Bryan Davis has pointed to the website of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
The federal site includes unemployment figures for Scioto County dating back to 1990. The unemployment rate peaked at a seemingly extremely high rate of 15.8 percent in January 2010. The previous high was 15.4 percent, reached way back in January 1992. The all-time low was 5.5 percent achieved in May 2001. But Davis noted the unemployment rate in the county twice reached a 17-year low of 5.8 percent in 2018.
“That is still too high compared to the national average,” Davis stated. But he argued county officials have taken steps to drive economic development, to bring new jobs in to the area.
“We’re not losing jobs anymore, we’re not bleeding jobs like we were in the past.”
Davis further contended the county undoubtedly added jobs in the last year.
“Our jobs as commissioners is to create the environment for growth,” Davis said adding they also need to create the infrastructure for growth. Clearly, he believes commissioners are at least heading in the right direction in regard to both those missions.