Clinton County unemployment rate remains at 5.4%; state’s at 5.5%

WILMINGTON — Clinton County’s unemployment rate was 5.4% in December, the same rate as November’s, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

The county’s unemployment rate is just below the state’s reported 5.5% unemployment, which is down 0.2% from November.

At the depth of the COVID-impacted economy, Clinton County recorded an April 2020 unemployment rate of 17.2%.

Unemployment rates for surrounding counties include: Highland, 5.7%; Brown, 5.5%; Fayette, 4.6%; Greene, 4.2%; and Warren, 4.0%.

Ohio’s claims

Ohioans filed 49,974 initial jobless claims last week, according to statistics the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) reported to the U.S. Department of Labor Thursday. This was 224,241 fewer than – or about 18% of – the peak last year.

The total number of initial jobless claims filed in Ohio over the last 45 weeks — 2,228,112 — was more than the combined total of those filed during the last five years.

Ohioans filed 262,999 continued jobless claims last week.

US economy shrinks

Stuck in the grip of a viral pandemic, the U.S. economy grew at a 4% annual rate in the final three months of 2020 and shrank last year by the largest amount in 74 years, the Associated Press reported.

For 2020 as a whole, a year when the coronavirus inflicted the worst economic freeze since the end of World War II, the economy contracted 3.5% and clouded the outlook for the coming year.

The economic damage followed the eruption of the pandemic 10 months ago and the deep recession it triggered, with tens of millions of Americans left jobless.

Thursday’s report from the government estimated that the nation’s gross domestic product — its total output of goods and services — slowed sharply in the October-December quarter from a record 33.4% surge in the July-September quarter.

That gain had followed a record-shattering 31.4% annual plunge in the April-June quarter, when the economy sank into a free-fall.