Dayton and Springfield regions had third lowest unemployment rates in Ohio

The Dayton and Springfield metropolitan areas were among five in Ohio that matched the state’s 3.5% unemployment rate, according to November data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The data, the most recently available for metro areas, show the continuing economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Six of Ohio’s 12 metro areas had higher unemployment rates than Dayton. The worst rate was 4.4 percent in the Youngstown-Warren-Boardman metro area.

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The Cincinnati metro area, which includes Butler County, and Columbus had the lowest rate, with 3% of the civilian labor force unemployed in November.

In November there were 383,405 people in the civilian labor force, which is the sum of persons who are employed and those who are unemployed and looking for work or laid off. Of them, 13,233 were unemployed, according to the BLS.

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Ohio and all of its metro areas saw unemployment rates decline compared to November 2020 before COVID-19 vaccinations were widely available.

The Dayton region’s November 2020 unemployment rate was 4.6%, which was better than the statewide rate of 4.9 percent. The worst in the state at that time was Cleveland-Elyria, which had a 7.1% unemployment rate, according to the BLS. Columbus’ 4.2% was the lowest rate in the state in November 2020.

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“The labor market is extraordinarily tight and unemployment claims are down below pre-pandemic levels,” said Richard Stock, director of the University of Dayton Business Research Group. “Despite the labor market tightness there are still 13,400 fewer jobs in November 2021 than in November 2019 in the Dayton MSA and job growth was an anemic 1.4% from November, 2020 to November 2021.”

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Stock said the industry sectors in the Dayton metro area that have recovered the least compared to Nov. 2019 are:

  • Leisure and hospitality, down 4,800 jobs to a total of 34,600.
  • Health care & social assistance, down 3,300 jobs to a total of 61,300.
  • State government education services, with includes public colleges and training centers, down 1,800 jobs to a total of 3,400.

“Recovery in Dayton in 2022 will continue to be more anemic than otherwise because the underlying conditions causing weakness in those sectors have not been resolved,” Stock said.

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He said there is strength in the construction, trade and transportation and manufacturing sectors.

“However, construction itself is plagued by a dearth of the skilled workers required after the devastation to those trades caused by the Great Recession,” Stock said. “Manufacturing job growth will be mixed with strength in some sectors offset by factory closings in other areas.”

The Dayton region will continue to be strengthened by the presence of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and he anticipates the Dayton region will benefit from greater integration with the Cincinnati metro areas, which Stock said will bring growth in professional and business services.

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