Job numbers improve in May

Patience McCoy, a waitress at Four Seasons restaurant in Bryan, prepares a beverage for a customer on Friday. Employment is slowly rebounding from the COVID-19 crisis, with the national unemployment rate at 13.3% in May, down from 14.7% in April. The Williams County unemployment rate was about 15% in May, but down from 21% in April, according to the Ohio Bureau of Labor Market Information.

Unemployment nationally, statewide and in Williams County is slowly improving from the depths of the COVID-19 shutdown about two months ago.

In April, a little over one in five Williams County workers, about 21.1%, were out of a job but that percentage dropped to 14.9% in May as they began to return to work.

May’s numbers entail the second full month of non-seasonally adjusted unemployment data released since the state enacted widespread COVID-19 precautionary measures that either closed or shrank operations for many varieties of businesses.

Ohio’s state unemployment rate was 13.7% in May, down from 16.8% in April. In May 2019, the rate was less than one-third of the 2020 number.

The national rate was 13.3% in May, down from 14.7% in April. In May 2019, the national rate was less than one-third of the 2020 number.

All data is based on surveys conducted by the Ohio Bureau of Labor Market Information.

Williams County

The non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for May was 14.9%, down from 21.1% in April, but still drastically up from 4.4% in March, which showed only the earliest days of the pandemic’s effect on the American economy.

While the rate plummeted closer to relative normalcy, May 2020 saw the county end a long streak of having the best rate in the four-county region, finishing behind both Fulton (14%) and Henry (14.3%) counties.

Additionally, Williams County’s rate was 1.2% above the state rate and 1.6% above the national rate.

An estimated 16,500 of Williams County’s 19,400-person workforce were employed during the month of May.

The comparable rate from May 2019 was less than one-seventh of the May 2020 number, at 2.7%. In May 2018 the rate was 3.3% and it was 4.1% in May 2017.

The most recent mark brings Williams County back under the highest peak of the Great Recession during the summer months of 2009, when unemployment hit 17.2%.

Defiance County

Defiance County’s non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for May was 15.8%, down from 22.3% in April but still up from 5.1% in pre-COVID-19 March levels.

Despite the decline, Defiance County maintains the highest jobless rate in the four-county area.

An estimated 15,500 of Defiance County’s 18,400-person workforce were employed during May 2020.

The rate was 2.1% above the state rate and 2.5% over the national rate.

Defiance’s comparable May 2019 rate was 3.6%, while it was 4.1% in May 2018 and 4.6 in May 2017.

Henry County

Henry County’s non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for May 2020 was 14.3%, down from 21.1% in April 2020, but still up from 7.7% in March.

The rate was 0.6% above the state rate and 1% higher than the national rate.

An estimated 11,100 of Henry County’s 12,900-person workforce were employed during May 2020.

The comparable rate for May 2019 was 3.7%, while it was 4.1% in May 2018 and 4.6% in May 2017.

Fulton County

Fulton County’s non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for May 2020 was 14%, down from 21.1% in April but still up from 5.8% in March.

The rate was the lowest in the four-county region and landed 0.3 % above the state rate and 0.7 % above the national rate.

An estimated 19,100 of Fulton County’s 22,200-person workforce were employed during the month of May 2020.

The comparable rate for both May 2019 and May 2018 was 3.6%, while it was 4.6% in May 2017.

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