Tuesday, March 24th, 2009
Joblessness about double what it was a year ago
By Shelley Grieshop
Local unemployment figures have nearly doubled from a year ago - meaning approximately 5,200 Mercer and Auglaize County residents are out of work.
From January to February, the unemployment rate in Mercer County rose 1.1 percent to 9.1 percent. In Auglaize County, the number went up 1.5 percent to 10.8 percent, according to information from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
Auglaize County's unemployment rate topped the statewide average of 9.4 percent, which was up from 8.8 percent in January. The total number of unemployed workers in Ohio in February was 566,000 - a 25-year high.
Unemployment increases were felt in 63 of 88 Ohio counties.
Neighboring Van Wert County posted a staggering high of 15.2 percent unemployment. Other counties posting unemployment rates higher than 15 percent include Huron, 18, Ottawa, 16.6, Morgan, 16.5, Adams, 16.1, Pike, 16, Crawford and Williams, 15.3, and Meigs, 15.2.
The lowest unemployment rate was found in Franklin County in the Columbus area where 7.7 percent of the population is out of work.
Nearly every industry in Ohio felt the pain last month as the economy continued to lag. The biggest loss of jobs was in the service, administrative and manufacturing sectors, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. On the bright side, job increases were posted in government, hospitality and construction areas.
The unemployment numbers do not include those employees who have had their hours or pay cut - both which have been reported at several companies throughout the Grand Lake area.
The entire country is feeling the pain, which started with the collapse of the housing industry followed by numerous banking institutions. The U.S. unemployment rate for February was 8.1 percent, up from 7.6 percent in January.