Unemployment Rate Drops

ST. MARYS —  The unemployment rate in Auglaize County continues to fall.

In data released this week, Auglaize County saw its unemployment rate for September fall to 4.9 percent — down from 5.2 percent in August. Last year at this time, the unemployment rate sat at 6.9 percent. The county also was among a handful that saw unemployment rates of less than 5 percent. The other counties were Holmes, Delaware and Putnam.

Mercer County again ranked the lowest in the state with an unemployment rate of 3.9 percent. That figure is a decrease from 4.1 percent in August.

“It’s definitely continued good news for the region,” Mercer County Economic Development Director Jared Ebbing told The Evening Leader. “But, at the end of the day, our work is not done until everyone in our region has a job that they want. That number is still just a number.”

Ebbing said there could be future expansion in the works for the region. However, he noted a lot could hinge on the upcoming election.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty,” Ebbing said. “I think a lot of them are just going to wait and see what happens. I think in some cases, you may see a lot of expansion and in some other cases, there may be a few who don’t like the results and may not expand. There’s just a lot of fear of the unknown.”

Despite the region’s low unemployment figures, Ebbing said local economic development officials continue to try to match employers and employees to fill the growing void of skilled workers. The help connect the two, a new venture — HometownOpportunity.com — is slated to launch in the coming weeks.

“I don’t ever get caught up in numbers because to me, there are still people out there looking for better jobs and people who may have a job but are underemployed,” Ebbing said. “There are still a lot of people who are actively putting out resumes looking for jobs and companies who are looking for skilled workers. For us, it’s a matter of making that connection. I think Hometown Opportunity can bridge that gap with companies who are looking for skilled workers.”

The rest of the region saw similar declines. Allen County was at 6.8 percent (down from 7.1 percent), Darke County was at 5.7 percent (down from 6 percent), Hardin County was at 6.4 percent (down from 7 percent), Logan County was at 6.2 percent (down from 6.5 percent), Shelby County was at 6 percent (down from 6.5 percent) and Van Wert County was at 6.7 percent (down from 6.8 percent).