Butler County unemployment sinks to new 10-year low

Butler County’s unemployment rate sank to a new, more than 10-year low in April of 4.1 percent, according to early estimates released Wednesday by Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

The unemployment rate, which measures the number of people who say they’re searching for a job but can’t find one, fell in Butler County from 4.9 percent a year ago, according to the state estimates, which are preliminary and could be revised in the future.

But based on this first take at the April numbers, Butler County hasn’t seen a jobless rate as low as 4.1 percent since at least the beginning of 2005. That year, unemployment was 5.5 in April, and averaged 5.4 percent for the whole year, according to the state job statistics.

The other good news is that the labor force is larger now that it was 10 years ago, consisting of 186,400 workers or job seekers last month compared to 185,300 in April 2005. That also implies employment growth in the county. If the labor force didn’t increase over that time, it could suggest the unemployment rate was shrinking due to a smaller labor pool, including more people retiring, or giving up on finding a job.

In fact, the last time unemployment was 4.1 percent or below in the county was in August 2001, according to state records.

“April is one of the months where seasonal factors are in play. We start to see hiring for non-seasonal jobs,” said Benjamin Johnson, spokesman for Ohio Job and Family Services.

But while job gains in construction and leisure and hospitality industry sectors helped lower unemployment figures from March to April, unemployment levels are also lower than past years, which has to do with more than just warm weather hiring, Johnson said.

“It is also the fact that the economy is getting stronger and unemployment is decreasing across the state year-over-year, even when you take the seasonal factors out of the equation,” he said.

There are now about 7,700 unemployed people in Butler County, down from 9,000 a year ago. Likewise, the number of employed grew year-over-year in April to 178,700 residents working, an increase of 2,800 people.

How Butler County compares

Neighboring Warren County also saw unemployment rates in April drop to a new low of 3.7 percent, down from 4.4 percent in April 2014.

Meanwhile, Butler County is in tune with the overall Cincinnati metropolitan labor market. Across the 15-county Cincinnati metro area — which includes Butler and Warren counties as well as parts of eastern Indiana and northern Kentucky — unemployment last month was also 4.1 percent, dropping from year ago levels of 5.2 percent.

Statewide unemployment now sits at 5.2 percent, compared to 5.9 percent in April 2014.

Upcoming job fairs in the area

Hundreds of jobs are up for grabs in Southwest Ohio beginning today with a job fair featuring veteran-friendly employers, and again on Saturday when a new auto supplier hopes to fill available positions on the production line.

The first calendar event is today’s RecruitMilitary job fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 28 at Paul Brown Stadium in downtown Cincinnati.

Three organizations are teaming up to host the event: Disabled American Veterans, Loveland-based RecruitMilitary and Blue Ash-based food manufacturer AdvancePierre Foods.

Veterans who already have civilian work experience, personnel who are transitioning from active duty to civilian life, members of the National Guard and reserves, military spouses and other military family members are invited, according to RecruitMilitary, a for-profit firm that helps companies hire veterans.

Participation has grown to about 87 employers, franchisers, educational institutions and government agencies that are expected to attend, according to organizers. Also of note is 30-plus participating employers are locally headquartered, including Belterra Park Gaming, The Kroger Co., General Electric Co., Kao Brands, AdvancePierre Foods Inc., and Cintas Corp., said RecruitMilitary spokeswoman Jill Krabacher.

“Just to tell you at our last event in Cincinnati in October, 241 job offers were extended after the event. We actually track those,” Krabacher said.

For more information, go online to recruitmilitary.com.

Auto supplier UGN Inc. scheduled a job fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at its newly constructed manufacturing plant off Gateway Boulevard in Monroe, which is located off Ohio 63, said Chip Zanzinger, human resource manager for UGN in Monroe.

Fifty-five jobs need filled no later than June 16, and another 55 employees are needed on the job by July 28, Zanzinger said. Starting pay for experienced production operators, the majority of positions available, is $13 an hour with full benefits, he said.

Job applicants can also email cover letter and resume information to monroejobs@ugnauto.com. Find more information online at the company’s website, www.ugn.com.

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