By Grace Wyler
By GRACE WYLER
The Mahoning Valley’s unemployment rate continued to hover about 12 percent for the third- consecutive month.
The combined unemployment rate for Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties was 11.9 percent in July, the state reported Tuesday. Joblessness is significantly lower than in 2009, when the unemployment rate was 13.9 percent in July.
“It almost appears as if we have stagnated to some extent,” said Bert Cene, director of the Mahoning and Columbiana Training Association, which oversees work-force investment. “There is some growth, but I haven’t seen the recovery that we thought we would see by now.”
Local employers have started to see better profits and an increase in orders but remain reluctant to hire, Cene said.
Columbiana County had the area’s highest jobless rate last month at 12.4 percent, down from 14.2 percent in July 2009.
Mahoning County unemployment was 11.7 percent in July, dropping from 13.3 percent a year earlier.
In Youngstown, unemployment was 13.7 percent in July, compared with 14.6 percent in July 2009.
In Trumbull County, the unemployment rate was 12 percent last month, down from 14.4 percent in July 2009.
Warren’s jobless rate last month was 13.2, a significant decrease from the city’s 15.1 percent unemployment rate a year earlier.
“It’s no secret that a lot of people are looking for work,” said Patrick DeToro, services supervisor at the Trumbull County One-Stop employment agency. “I tend to think the numbers are even higher than what is reported.”
The unemployment rate does not include workers who have entered training programs or the long-term unemployed who have exhausted their unemployment benefits, DeToro added.
Almost 83,000 out-of-work Ohioans exhausted their unemployment benefits in July, including 1,536 in Trumbull County, 1,473 in Mahoning County and 694 in Columbiana County, according to state data.
Ohio’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 10.3 percent last month, down slightly from 10.5 percent in June. Local unemployment numbers are not seasonally adjusted.