Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Watching Employment: Returning to Peak But Not Returning to Pace

The latest county-by-county unemployment numbers came out in Ohio yesterday.  It showed a mixed bag of news for Licking County with a downward tick in the unemployment rate but coupled with a downward tick in workforce size and the number of employed persons.

That caused me to go to the data.  Thus, the chart above.

I conclude there are reasons to be optimistic about where we are right now, compared to other places around the nation.  Licking County hovers within close reach of its highest-ever employment and workforce size numbers.

In the past twelve years, the lowest unemployment rate was 2.9% in October 2000 when 75,400 were employed.  Today, there are 4,300 more people employed in Licking County than there were then.

A 6% increase in employed in the last 12 years is small compared to the 35% increase over the past 25 years though.

Nonetheless, if employment is the measure, Licking County is nearing its all-time high.  The highest employment level was November 2006 with the 80,000 employed mark hit.  In June, the number of employed was within 100 people of hitting that number.  July made that gap 200, not an insurmountable number any time soon.

Workforce size is another measure charted.  The high point was July 2010, the first year of what could be considered a recovery, with 85,800 in the workforce.  July 2012 was just 400 persons off from that high point, also not an insurmountable number soon.

Here's the bottom line:

Licking County appears to be stabilizing and returning to all-time high employment and workforce numbers.  Mind you, the pace of that return is slower than the pace experience for the past 25 years, but we should take what we can get.

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