Jobless rate down, outlook is brighter

Auglaize County ended 2012 by shaving more than 1 percent off its unemployment rate during a 12-month period.
In data released Tuesday, Auglaize County recorded an unemployment rate of 4.8 percent in December, up slightly from the 4.7 percent it recorded in November. In 2011, Auglaize County ended the year with an unemployment rate of 6.2 percent.
Wapakoneta Area Economic Development Council (WAEDC) Executive Director Greg Myers said the decline in the past year and the past month is a good thing because more people are back to work.
“It’s a good sign because companies are seeing growth in their businesses and they need more people to get the work done,” Myers said.
This translates to say that business prospects are up.
Myers said that companies now are
asking where do they find people as opposed to a couple years ago when they asked how they can ease people out of a job.
A new initiative, “Hometown Opportunities” is a way to help people in Auglaize and Mercer counties find employment.
This website was started at the end of 2012, and lists company information along with job postings to help people find employment.
Myers said that not only Auglaize County, but other counties unemployment rate seems to be dropping.
“I hope the trend continues,” Myers said.
St. Marys Development Manager Susan Crotty credited the holiday rush as pushing unemployment down as it typically does this time of year.
“It looks like it’s steady right now and that probably has a lot to do with the time of year,” Crotty said. “There probably wasn’t much hiring over the last month, but I would foresee there could be more job creation and hiring in the near future and we could see that number go down.”
The rest of the region saw similar results. Mercer County laid claim to the lowest unemployment rate in the state with a 3.9 percent rate — which was what it recorded in November. For the year, Mercer County shaved 1 percent off its unemployment rate, which sat at 4.9 percent in December 2011.
Crotty said the developer at the Shoppes At St. Marys is in the process of planning future expansion projects. Those projects, if realized, would bring additional jobs to the region.
“It’s not an overnight thing,” Crotty said. “The developers have plans for between 40,000- and 50,000-square feet of additional retail. Approximately 30,000-square feet will be one building so there is a lot of space that will be developed at once. The rest will be multi-use retail and they also still have out-lots available.”
Allen County was at 7 percent, an increase from 6.7 percent, Darke County was at 6 percent, an increase from 5.8 percent, Logan County was at 6.2 percent, an increase from 6 percent, Hardin County was at 6.3 percent, Shelby County was at 5.9 percent, Van Wert County was 7 percent — all were unchanged from the previous month.

The Evening Leader Managing Editor Mike Burkholder contributed to this story.