Ottawa County ranked fifth in the state, with an unemployment rate of 13.9 percent, up from 10.9 percent in December. Huron County slid into the No. 6 spot with a 13.8 percent unemployment rate, up from 10.9 percent in December.
The state unemployment rate in January was 7 percent, up from 6.7 percent in December.
There were 3,000 Ottawa County residents officially unemployed, according to Department of Job and Family Services. The only bright spot might e that the current figure is lower than the same time last year, when the county had an unemployment figure of 15 percent.
The spike was no surprise to officials in a county that relies heavily on summer tourism.
“It is a pretty cyclical cycle,” said Ottawa County Job and Family Services director Stephanie Kowal. “They get back to work as the season starts back up.”
She said the county does its best to continually work with area businesses to get any jobs available posted and filled as soon as possible. She said those businesses started recruiting earlier this season and she anticipates February's number will be better.
In Huron County, there were an estimated 3,600 people seeking jobs who are unemployed.
Sandusky County increased to 9.2 percent from 6.8 percent. It reported 2,900 people unemployed.
Erie County spiked to 10.2 percent from 7.0 percent. Figures show there are 3,900 people unemployed in the county.
One of those was Morgan Weatherspoon, 20, of Sandusky, who was at the Job Store. Weatherspoon works whatever job she can find, usually part time.
“It is hard, I have bills,” Weatherspoon said.
She gets by with help from her family.
And she supports two young children.
“They have everything they need,” Weatherspoon said. “But they could use more.”
She was driven to the Job Store by family friend Roger Harpel.
News reports trying to paint an optimistic picture of the economy does not translate down to the local level.
“People are not working but they are no longer on the roll because they have not worked in so long,” Harpel said. “And when you do get a job it is part time with less than 20 hours a week. How do you live?”
COUNTY JAN 2013 DEC 2012 JAN 2012
OTTAWA 13.9 10.9 15.0
HURON 13.8 10.3 13.9
ERIE 10.2 7.0 10.3
SANDUSKY 9.2 6.8 9.5