Unemployment rate at pre-recession levels

Van Sant
By Art Hunter

Clermont County’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.8 percent in April, according to the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services.

This rate is below Ohio’s average rate of 5.3 percent, and is the lowest that unemployment has been since April of 2008 at the start of the recession.

“This figure of 4.8 percent unemployment is very positive for our residents,” Clermont County Chamber of Commerce CEO Matt Van Sant said. “This is critical to the overall health of our community.”

Van Sant said that the jobs that have been created in recent years have been spurring further growth.

He said that the jobs that have been created at Huhtamaki in the former Ford transmission plant, and at Jungle Jim’s and TQL in Union Township, have been having a profound effect throughout the area.

“Each job we add in basic industries has a ripple effect throughout the local economy,” Van Sant said.

He said that the outlook is for the economy to continue to grow.

“Economists have been telling us that we are definitely in a recovery,” Van Sant said. “Now, it’s all about executing business plans. This is a great time to be in business.”

Clermont County Director of Community and Economic Development Andy Kuchta said that the county is probably getting close to full employment.

“Every employer I talk to, no matter what their industry is, says that they are feeling some pressure to fill vacant positions,” Kuchta said.

He said that the economy is definitely the best it has been in seven or eight years, and that the biggest constraint on growth in the county has become the availability of buildings ready to be occupied by businesses.

“I’ve never seen such a tight inventory of available office and manufacturing space,” Kuchta said.

He said that the trend through the recession has been for businesses to look for existing buildings, and that the current shortage of space may begin to encourage more new construction.

“The overall economy is very strong,” Kuchta said. “We are in the sweet spot in southern Ohio.”