OHIO VALLEY — For the first time in a long time, unemployment has fallen in the tri-county area as a whole.
Mason County in West Virginia as well as Gallia and Meigs counties in Ohio all report lower unemployment rates for the month of September, according to WorkForce WV and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, respectively.
In Mason County, the unemployment rate has continued to fall for the last three months of available statistics. In July, the unemployment rate was 12.1 percent, in August it dipped to 10.7 percent and for September it fell to 9.6 percent. For a county which has repeatedly claimed the top spot for the highest unemployment rate, in September, Mason County found itself ranked seventh in terms overall unemployment.
The “top 10” counties with the highest unemployment rates in West Virginia are: Clay, 13 percent; Webster, 12.1 percent; Boone, 11.5 percent; Roane, 10 percent; Grant, Wetzel and Mingo counties, 9.9 percent; Logan, 9.8 percent; Mason, 9.6 percent; Pocahontas, 9.3 percent; Braxton, 9.2 percent; Calhoun and Wirt counties, 8.9 percent.
Counties with the lowest unemployment rates in West Virginia are Monongalia, and Jefferson counties, five percent; Putnam, 5.6 percent; Preston and Monroe counties, 5.8 percent; Lewis and Pendelton counties, 5.9 percent.
Meigs County seems to be perpetually ranked at number two in terms of the highest unemployment rate out of Ohio’s 88 counties, but, for the third month in a row, unemployment has fallen there. Meigs had an unemployment rate of 12.5 in July, then it dipped to 11.1 in August and fell to 10.7 in September.
Gallia County’s unemployment rate has been more up and down in the last three months, though by a small margin. In July, Gallia County’s unemployment rate was 8.3 percent, in August it rose slightly to 8.4 percent and then in September fell again to 8.2 percent. Gallia County is currently ranked 15th out of 88 counties in terms of unemployment rates.
Ohio counties with the lowest unemployment rates include Mercer, 3.9 percent; Holmes, 4.4 percent; Delaware, 4.8 percent; Auglaize, 4.9 percent; Putnam, five percent. Unemployment rates for September for other counties of interest are: Vinton, 9.1 percent; Jackson, 7.9 percent; Athens, 7.5 percent; Franklin, 5.8 percent; Cuyahoga, 6.9 percent; Hamilton, 6.4 percent. Pike County once again had the highest unemployment rate at 11.5 percent.
Ohio’s overall unemployment rate was down from 7.2 percent in August to seven percent in September - West Virginia’s overall unemployment rate was up one-tenth of a percentage point to 7.6 percent in September. The U.S. unemployment rate is down, going from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent in September which means both West Virginia and Ohio are still below the national average when it comes to unemployment rates.