ST. MARYS — After a two-month drop of almost 1 percent, unemployment rates in Auglaize County edged up slightly in October.
In data released by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Auglaize County's unemployment ticked up 0.2 percent to settle in at 7.4 percent last month. The unemployment rate at the same time last year was 8.6 percent.
The rest of the region was a mixed bag with some edging up and some falling, while others remained the same. Mercer County saw a slight increase of 0.1 percent to 5.7 percent. With the increase, Mercer County now has the second-lowest in the state.
"I think our region as a whole has been consistently stable over the last year, year and a half," Mercer County Economic Development Director Jared Ebbing said. "I just think that's a testament to the types of companies we have here and the people who are willing to work ... I think our region has demonstrated resiliency and the fact that we don't have all our eggs in one basket doesn't hurt. It's a nice spread of smaller to medium-sized firms. Agro-business also doesn't hurt."
In addition to several new businesses that opened in the region, the plight of Grand Lake St. Marys could lead to some growth. Amiran Technologies has expressed a desire to build a pair of manufacturing sites in the area — one to turn manure into fertilizer and one to turn dredged lake material into potting soil.
"Amiran is a good example," Ebbing said. "They are here because they found out about the lake. The bigger picture is that we have a lot of livestock in the area and livestock produces manure, and manure could be looked at as a liability but to some companies, with the right technology, it's a commodity."
Ebbing said any jobs created by an Amiran facility also could trickle down to growth in the agriculture and construction industries.
"If Amiran comes in and creates 50 jobs and they have a good business model that works, it's good for them but it's also good for our producers because they can continue to grow and procure more animals. That could lead to construction jobs — it's a ripple effect and that's the type of thing we like to focus on."
Across the rest of the region, Allen County remained the same at 9.2 percent, Shelby County is at 8.6 percent (down from 8.7 percent), Van Wert County is at 9.1 percent (up from 9 percent), Logan County is at 8.8 percent (down from 9.1 percent), Darke County is at 8.4 percent (up from 8.2 percent) and Hardin County is at 9.2 percent (down from 9.3 percent).
The statewide unemployment rate currently sits at 9 percent.