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October Unemployment Rates Down As Job Opportunities Trickle Back

The logo for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services

Ohio’s unemployment rate ticked down to just 5.3 percent in October, which is as low as it’s been for years, and the Dayton Metropolitan Statistical Area (Dayton MSA, including Greene, Miami, Montgomery and Preble Counties) saw an even lower rate of 4.7 percent, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

As usual, the underlying facts are a mix of good news and bad news. Hiring in the Dayton area has picked up in the last couple months leading into the hiring season: for example, Cincinnati-based Kroger is hiring for 1200 jobs in the area, the Hollywood Gaming racino opened up on the old Delphi site on the north side of Dayton, and a Procter & Gamble distribution center near the Dayton International Airport started hiring for up to 1,350 logistics jobs.

On the other hand, the city of Trotwood recently got the bad news that 107 people will lose their jobs in January when Syncreon, a supplier for G.M., closes up shop. The Dayton Daily News reported management cited a drop-off in orders from Venezuela due to political and economic turmoil in that country. And at least for now, the GoodSports athletic center and hotel in Huber Heights is on hold as the company hasn’t been able to secure funding for the development near its planned music center.

The average rates themselves can also be misleading: while the Dayton MSA looks better than Ohio in terms of an unemployment rate, there are still fewer people by far in the workforce than before the Great Recession. Employment in October 2007 was 400,800, while the number of people working in the latest survey was just 378,700, a loss of nearly 22,000 positions that haven’t been recovered.  Thus, the unemployment rate relative to pre-Recession levels continues to reflect a trend towards fewer people working overall, either because they’ve stopped looking, retired or moved away.

And Dayton and Trotwood proper are both examples of parts of the Miami Valley where unemployment is still higher than their neighbors, at 5.7 and 5.8 percent respectively for October. That’s in contrast with Beavercreek at 3.9 percent and Kettering at 4.2 percent.