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Unemployment Averages Gloss Over Differences In The Dayton Area

Lewis Wallace

State-level unemployment numbers from December are due out Friday morning. In the last report, Ohio’s unemployment rate was hovering above the national average—but averages can be deceiving.

The unemployment rate in November for the greater Dayton area was 7.5 percent, about the same as the state’s 7.4 percent rate and above the national rate, which was 7.0 in November and 6.3 in December 2013.

But in Trotwood, a west Dayton suburb, that number was 9.5 percent, while in Beavercreek, the rate was just 6.2, numbers that say a lot about disparities in the local economy.

Race and age yield even wider disparities in the latest national unemployment numbers.

“When whites get a cold, black folks get pneumonia,” said former NAACP leader Jessie Gooding in an interview earlier this week. The national unemployment rate for white people was 5.9 percent in December, while for black people, it was 11.9 percent, just about double. And unemployment for people ages 16-19 was a whopping 20.2 percent.

These numbers can be a sign of where our economy is going, which is why we’ll keep reporting them, but you may want to take the averages with a grain of salt.