OHIO VALLEY — The latest statistics show unemployment rates are on the rise in Mason, Meigs and Gallia counties.
Both WorkForce West Virginia and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, respectively, reported slight increases in unemployment rates for the tri-county area in December 2011. Also, the overall unemployment rate was up in West Virginia but declined in Ohio.
Starting in Mason County, December’s unemployment rate was 11.4 percent, up slightly from November’s 11 percent. Mason County tied with Wetzel County for the county with the fourth highest unemployment rate in West Virginia. Calhoun County had the highest unemployment rate with 12.7 percent, followed by Webster County with 12.6 percent and Roane County with 11.8 percent. Once again, Monongalia County had the lowest unemployment rate at five percent, followed closely by Jefferson County with 5.9 percent, Gilmer County with 6.3 percent, Putnam County with 6.4 percent and Ohio County with 6.5 percent unemployment.
In West Virginia, the unemployment rate climbed six-tenths of a percentage point to 7.7 percent in December, up from November’s 7.1 percent. Mason County was not alone in the fact nearly all counties recorded rising unemployment rates. The number of unemployed state residents rose 4,800 to 59,600. Within the goods-producing sector, employment declines included 2,900 in construction, 800 in mining and logging and 400 in manufacturing. Within the service-providing sector, employment growth included 500 in educational and health services, 300 in professional and business services, 300 in financial activities, and 200 in other services. Employment declines included 300 in government, 200 in trade, transportation and utilities, 200 in information, and 100 in leisure and hospitality.
After a brief decline in unemployment rates, Meigs saw its unemployment numbers go from 11.3 in November to 11.8 in December. However, Meigs continued to hang on to its fourth place ranking amongst Ohio’s 88 counties in terms of the highest unemployment rates. Gallia County went from eight percent unemployment in November to 9.2 percent in December. From November to December, Gallia County went from number 42 to number 24 on the chart which ranks unemployment rates from highest to lowest amongst Ohio’s 88 counties. Pike County once again had the number one slot on the chart with the highest unemployment rate in the state at 14.3 percent, followed by Ottawa County at 13.3 percent and Adams County at 12 percent. Mercer County once again had the lowest unemployment at 4.9 percent, followed by Holmes County at 5.1 percent, Delaware County at 5.3 percent, Geauga County at 5.8 percent and Medina County at 5.9 percent.
Overall, Ohio’s unemployment rate was down, going from 8.5 percent in November to 8.1 percent in December. The number of workers unemployed in Ohio in December was 469,000, down from 496,000 in November. Goods-producing industries were down 2,100 jobs; construction and mining and logging declined 2,600 and 100 jobs, respectively, while manufacturing added 600 jobs. Service-providing industries decreased by 1,200 jobs. The most significant losses were posted in professional and business services down 4,700 jobs and financial activities down 1,600 jobs. Trade, transportation and utilities and leisure and hospitality decreased 400 jobs each. Government added 3,100 jobs, education and health services added 2,100 jobs, and other services saw a gain of 700 jobs.
The recent unemployment rates for both West Virginia and Ohio were still below the U.S. unemployment rate of 8.5 percent for December.