Jobless rates jump in Butler, Warren counties

Regional jobless rates edged higher in January and every Ohio county saw an increase in its unemployment rates, according to figures released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
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Regional jobless rates edged higher in January and every Ohio county saw an increase in its unemployment rates, according to figures released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Regional jobless rates edged higher in January with every Ohio county seeing an increase in unemployment rates, according to figures released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

In Butler County:

  • the unemployment rate climbed to 5.1 percent in January from 4.1 percent in December
  • that's above last year's 5.0 percent during the same month, according to the jobs report

In Warren County:

  • the unemployment rate climbed to 4.7 percent in January from 3.9 percent in December
  • that's above last year's 4.6 percent during the same month, according to the jobs report

By comparison, Ohio’s unemployment rate was 6 percent in January, up from 4.8 percent in December and 5.6 percent in December 2015.

MORE: Butler County manufacturing firm adding 150 new jobs

But Bill Even, Glos Professor of Economics at Miami University, said the vast majority of the change in jobless rates is attributable to seasonality.

“One of the things that happens in December is retailers looking for people to help with the Christmas season, holiday sales and (there’s) a big ramp up in part-timers, and they release those in January after the shopping season is over,” Even said. “There’s a lot of seasonality in these numbers and when you’re looking at month-to-month comparisons, you can be misled.”

Changes in each county between January 2016 and January 2017 were far more modest and much more consistent with typical economic growth trends.

Even said Federal Reserve Economic Data shows Ohio’s unemployment rate fares far better when it is seasonally adjusted, barely fluctuating between two months in most cases, but those numbers won’t be available from the state until late April.

The state loss 2,100 jobs in January while unemployment rates increased in all of Ohio’s 88 counties. The highest unemployment was in Monroe County at 12.8 percent and lowest was Mercer County at 3.9 percent.

The national jobless rate increased mainly because more than a half million sidelined workers (584,000) were lured back into the workforce, according to the jobs report. Workers re-entering the workforce or joining for the first time are counted as unemployed until they find a job, which can push up the jobless rate.

RELATED: Ohio unemployment shrinks along with workforce

The prospect of better job opportunities bolstered by President Donald Trump’s pro-business, pro-growth policy goals was undoubtedly a factor convincing hundreds of thousands of discouraged workers to resume their job searches, according to at least one expert.

“There’s some confidence about the Trump administration and the promise of him walking back a lot of regulation, and I think people are optimistic they’ve be able to find jobs,” said Orphe Divounguy, an economist at The Buckeye Institute, a right-leaning think-tank in Columbus.

Unemployment rates do not consider people who are out of work and not searching for a job.

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