Unemployment Rate Decreases

ST. MARYS — After back-to-back months of increasing, the unemployment rate across the region dipped slightly last month.

In data released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Auglaize County’s unemployment rate for July dropped 0.1 percent to 5.3 percent. A year ago, the rate for the county sat at 5.7 percent.

“It seems like we haven’t seen a significant change for a while,” St. Marys Development Manager Susan Crotty told The Evening Leader.

“I don’t really anticipate any big fluctuations other than probably closer to the end of the year. We’ve had a relatively low unemployment rate here in Auglaize County for a while.”

While unemployment rates have been among the lowest in the state for the past few years, Crotty said the numbers do not reflect the number of underemployed people in the region.

“I think we definitely have individuals who are underemployed in our area, but that would be very difficult to quantify,” Crotty said.

“It would be nice to have those statistics that would show the underemployed. That would be a benefit to promote the area to potential employers who are looking to locate here.”

One factor working in the region’s favor is a strong labor force. Crotty said that aspect helps her in promoting the region to potential employers.

“We do have a strong labor force within driving distance,” Crotty said.

“There are surrounding counties that have a much higher unemployment rate than we do. So we can definitely tap into that labor pool.”

The majority of the region saw similar results. Mercer County once again recorded the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 4.5 percent, down from 4.6 percent in June.

Last year, Mercer County was at 4.4 percent.

Allen County recorded a rate of 8.1 percent (down from 8.2 percent), Darke County was at 6.4 percent (down from 6.5 percent), Logan County was at 6.5 percent (down from 6.7 percent), Hardin County was at 7.9 percent (down from 8.6 percent), Shelby County was at 6 percent (down from 6.3 percent) and Van Wert County was at 7.1 percent (up from 6.9 percent).