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Winter chills area job market

Melissa Topey • Mar 12, 2014 at 1:10 PM

This brutal winter continues to take a toll on the employment outlook in counties across Ohio. The unemployment rate last month increased in every one of Ohio’s 88 counties, although Huron and Ottawa counties were among seven locations that saw rates higher than 12 percent, according to data from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Huron County’s unemployment rate in January was 12.4 percent, up from 10.8 percent in December, while Ottawa County saw 12.1 percent, compared to 11.5 percent the month prior.

Erie County’s unemployment rate was 8.5 percent, up from 7.3 percent the month prior. Among the unemployed in January: Kimberly Harding, 33, of Vermilion, who lost her job last month.

Harding found herself sending out resumes when Cleveland Unlimited, doing business as Revol Wireless, in Cuyahoga County, shuttered its doors.

She said she remains optimistic about her prospects, and she’s looking in the Cuyahoga area again because there seem to be more positions available there.

“I put in more than 15 job applications in two weeks,” she said. “I heard back from one today”

In May, Harding will begin college classes, studying registered health information technology. It’s a field with a solid outlook, similar to medical coding.

In the meantime, Harding’s friends and family are helping her and her two children whenever unemployment payments don’t cover all their needs. “I have good people in my life” Harding said. The unemployment rate for the city of Sandusky last month was about 9 percent, with 1,100 people unemployed. This was up from 7.8 percent, or 1,000 people unemployed, a month earlier.

Ottawa County’s unemployment rate typically spikes in the winter months, when businesses dependent on summer close or cut back on staffing.

Sandusky County’s unemployment rate was 7.8 percent, up from 6.7 percent in December. Ohio’s unemployment rate for January was 6.9 percent, down slightly from 7.1 percent a month prior.

All four local counties saw better employment numbers than they did in January 2013.

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