June 24, 2016

Mostly sunny

Jobless rate unchanged

While the statewide unemployment rate rose from 10.1 percent in September to 10.5 percent in October, Medina County’s rate didn’t budge from 7.5 percent.

The county continues to have the fourth-lowest unemployment rate in the state, as it has for several months. Only Delaware (7.1 percent), Holmes (7 percent) and Geauga (6.7 percent) counties have lower rates, according to figures from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Bill Hanigan, director of Medina County Workforce Development, said the unchanged rate likely is due to the county’s proportion of service and trade jobs. The Ohio Department of JFS reported Friday that service-providing employment increased by 2,200 jobs throughout the state to 4,293,600 between September and October.

However, Hanigan said he was somewhat surprised the county’s unemployment rate didn’t increase even slightly. He said some areas of the workforce — such as information, travel, leisure and government — have been slimming down throughout the state.

“We haven’t seen it as great a proportion in our county as you have seen it in some other counties, but we are affected,” he said.

He also said some of the employers who have been hiring, especially those in manufacturing, only have temporary positions available.

“They’re trying to meet short-term orders, but they do not have the backlog built up to keep the new employees on,” he said.

Hanigan said his office has seen more initial claims and more general traffic over the last several months. Between July and October of this year, Medina County residents made 5,217 visits for service at the Workforce Development offices, called MedinaWorks. There were 4,071 visits in the same period in 2008. Services at the center include workshops, resume assistance, appointments with job counselors and the use of computers to search for jobs.

Hanigan said his office has been concentrating on workforce training throughout the economic slump. He said the center’s clients will be “in a better position as the economy slowly picks up because of the increased training that they have. Everyone that is looking (to hire) now is looking for seasoned people because they can ask for it and they can find it.”

Bethany Dentler, executive director of the Medina County Economic Development Corp., said she’s heard from businesses around the county that they are busier than they may have been earlier this year and last year.

“I think that’s a really good sign,” she said. “But whether they’re hiring now or not is another question. They’re learning to do more with less.”

She said some economic experts are saying a significant economic turnaround may not come until the second quarter of next year.

Contact Maria Kacik at (330) 721-4049 or mkacik@ohio.net.