Counties’ employment numbers a mixed bag

Winter was both a blessing and a curse for job-seekers in area counties
Melissa Topey
Apr 1, 2014
While Ottawa County’s unemployment rate was about 11.3 percent in February — the seventhworst in the state — it could have been much worse, county officials said.

Hotels and restaurants were busier than usual in some parts of the county, given the ongoing steam generator replacement project at Davis-Besse and the robust ice-fishing season. Both situations brought in out-of-towners for work, contributing to area businesses staying busy in these typically cold and jobless months.

“It should be getting even better,” said Jo Ellen Regal, Ottawa County commissioner. “We should see a decline (in unemployment) as we approach the summer tourism season”

So, earlier than usual, Ottawa County’s unemployment rate is at least heading in the right direction, Regal said.

There are currently 2,400 people unemployed in Ottawa County, out of a work force of about 21,100.

Huron County, meanwhile, was in worse shape. It saw an 11.6 percent unemployment rate last month, securing its status as the fifth-worst Ohio county on the jobs front. Of Huron County’s labor force of 25,700, about 3,000 were out of work last month.

Huron County’s rate was still down from January, and still well below the 13.5 percent rate in February of last year.

Erie County’s unemployment rate in February was 7.7 percent, down from January and from February 2013. There are about 2,900 people unemployed in Erie County, which has a labor force of about 38,100.

In February, the city of Sandusky saw 100 people find jobs or fall off the unemployment list, ending with an unemployment rate of 8.1 percent, down from 9 percent.

Sandusky County’s rate was 7.2 percent, which means about 2,300 residents were unemployed, out of a work force of 31,400.