By Karl Henkel
Despite the latest Mahoning Valley unemployment figures, the Covelli Centre may see a record crowd during Thursday’s Ohio-Penn Job Expo.
The combined August jobless rate dropped to 9.7 percent, 1.4 percent lower than the 11.1 percent mark in August 2010.
“Youngstown is most often the only region in the state that shows job growth,” said Cleveland-based economist George Zeller. “But people aren’t believing it.
“So I don’t think it hurts to say it over and over.”
Still, there were 26,500 unemployed Valley residents in August, though that figure is nearly 4,000 fewer than last August.
The Mahoning County unemployment rate was 9.5 percent in August, down from 10.9 in August 2010. Trumbull County posted a 9.7 percent unemployment rate, down from 11.2 percent.
Columbiana County’s unemployment rate was 10 percent in August, down from 11.4 the same month last year.
At 9.7 percent, however, the Valley’s unemployment rate is still higher than the state and national rates of 9.1.
Gloria Mathews, communications assistant at the Mahoning & Columbiana Training Association, said the still-high unemployment number speaks to the job expo’s necessity.
Companies such as Giant Eagle, West Corp., VXI Global Solutions, The Anderson Dubose Co., General Electric, Wal-Mart and V&M Star are expected to attend.
“There are those who are looking for entry-level workers and general labor,” said Gloria Mathews, communications assistant at the Mahoning & Columbiana Training Association, “but a high number of companies looking for skilled labor, technical and professional folks.”
The expo is open from noon to 5 p.m. Thursday.
The U.S. Department of Labor defines the civilian labor force as people 16 and older who are working or looking for work. It excludes members of the military, students and volunteer workers, as well as those who are in institutions, retired or unable to work.
Not counted in the statistics are those unemployed who have given up looking for work or those considered underemployed.