Valley Unemployment Rates Spike in December

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Warren and Youngstown posted the highest unemployment rates among Ohio cities of 50,000 or more resident last month, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reported this morning.

Warren’s unemployment rate was 9.2% in December, up nearly three full percentage rates from 6.3% a year earlier, and up from 6.8% in November.

In Youngstown, the unemployment rate was 8.8% last month, up nearly two full percentage points from 6.9% in December 2014 and from 7.0% in November.

The downturn in the oil and gas industry has meant sharp cuts for local companies involved in that sector. Vallourec Star last year announced cuts at its operation Youngstown, and Exterran Energy Solutions Inc. announced in December that it would shutter its Youngstown plant.

In November, Warren Steel Holdings LLC in Champion Township announced it would “temporarily shut down” its plant. Earlier this month, the company announced it was closing permanently.

The job losses in the Mahoning Valley’s two largest cities pushed up county unemployment rates.

In Trumbull County, the December unemployment rate, at 7.8%, was the eighth highest among Ohio’s 88 counties, up two percentage points from 5.8% a year earlier and from 5.9% last month.

Mahoning County’s 7.3% December rate was 13th highest in the state, and up from 5.5% in December 2014 and from 5.7% in November.

Columbiana County’s 6.5% jobless rate last month was up from 5.3% in December 2014 and from 5.8% in November.

At 6.9% in December, the unemployment rate for the Youngstown-Warren metropolitan statistical area – which covers Mahoning and Trumbull counties in Ohio and Mercer County in Pennsylvania — was second only to Weirton-Steubenville among Ohio’s MSAs. Excluding the Pennsylvania county, the rate for the Ohio-only portion of the MSA was 7.5%.

In December, the combined unemployment rate for the three counties was 5.4% and 5.6% for the Ohio-only portion. In November, the unemployment rate was 5.6% in the three counties and 5.8% in the two Ohio counties.

Year-over-year, on average, unemployment rates were down in 2015 from 2014. The average unemployment rate in Youngstown last year was 7.5%, down from 8.5% a year earlier. In Warren, the average unemployment rate for 2015 was 7.2%, down from 8.4% in 2014.

Average county rates in 2015 were 6.3% in Trumbull, 6.0% in Mahoning and 5.8% in Columbiana. Respectively, 2014 unemployment rates in the three counties were 7.0%, 6.6% and 6.4%.

The average unemployment rate in the Youngstown-Warren MSA was 6.0% last year, compared with 6.6% in 2014. For the Ohio-only segment of the MSA, rates were 6.1% last year and 6.8% the year before.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.