July 25, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Unemployment rate in Medina County falls to 7.5 percent

COLUMBUS — Figures released by the state Tuesday show the unemployment rate in Medina County dropped to 7.5 percent in October, which is down from 8 percent in Sep­tember and 8.4 percent in August.

“It’s definitely in the right direction,” said Bill Hanigan, director of Medina Workforce Development. His organization trains workers and helps them find jobs.

The county hasn’t seen a lower unemployment rate since December 2008, when 6.8 per­cent of workers were unem­ployed. The county experienced an unemployment high of 10 percent in February of this year.

Hanigan pointed out it isn’t just the percentage of unem­ployed that bodes well. The total civilian labor force, a sta­tistic that includes employed and unemployed workers, has been growing. There were 95,400 in the labor force last month, and 94,000 during that time last year.

“Many people basically gave up looking for work between 2008 and 2009. … Now more people are coming back into the job market,” he said.

However, Hanigan cautioned the unemployment statistic doesn’t include those who are “underemployed.”

“These individuals are taking pay reductions in order to land jobs,” he said.

Bethany Dentler, director of the Medina County Economic Development Corp., said many of the companies in Medina County have reported a good year, which could explain part of the drop in the unemploy­ment rate. However, she said, some of the employers she talked with are hesitant to hire.

“Some companies are waiting to see if the end of the recession is real or not,” she said.

She noted the recession taught some companies to do more with fewer workers.

“But I think as they continue to do well, the volume of their business will justify an increase in staffing,” she said.

Statewide, the unemploy­ment rate was 9.9 percent in October, down slightly from 10 percent in September, accord­ing to data from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Contact Maria Kacik Kula at (330) 721-4049 or mkacik@medina-gazette.com.