BY ED GEBERT

Times Bulletin Editor

egebert@timesbulletin.com

VAN WERT - The unemployment rate in Van Wert County fell in March, as they did in most every other county in Ohio. Locally, the jobless rate fell from February's 7.8 percent to 7.4 percent in March. The rate ranks Van Wert County as tied with the 51st highest rate of the state's 88 counties.
The civilian labor force estimates show 1,000 unemployed and 12,500 working in the county. Originally, the February report showed 12,600 employed in the county, but since that report was released, those figures were revised downward to show just 12,300 working. After the revision in the numbers, March's report shows slight improvement with a total workforce in Van Wert County moving from 13,300 to 13,500. Both those figures show a very low workforce total in the county. The last time the county's number of workers, both employed and unemployed, was this low was the late 1970s.

Rates around the area dipped as well. In Paulding County, unemployment fell from 7.6 percent in February to 7.0 percent in March. Allen County also reported a drop -8.5 to 8.0 percent. In Auglaize County, the rate slipped from 5.8 percent to 5.4 percent, and in Putnam County a half-percentage point was reported from 7.1 to 6.6 percent.

The county with the lowest unemployment rate in Ohio is once again Mercer County. The March report showed a drop of three-tenths of a percent to 4.6 percent.

The highest unemployment rate of any Ohio county is Pike County, which saw its rate fall from 14.1 percent in February to 13.4 percent in March. Other counties above 11.0 percent were Morgan (12.3), Meigs (12.2), Huron (12.1), Adams (12.0), Ottawa (11.9), Vinton (11.6), and Scioto (11.2).

On the other end of the spectrum, the lowest county rates, aside from Mercer, were Hancock (5.8), Union (5.7), Auglaize (5.4), Holmes (5.1), and Delaware (4.9).

The statewide unemployment rate in March was 7.1 percent, unchanged from February.