Ohio Unemployment Reaches 16-Year High

New unemployment figures for July show Ohio’s jobless rate is the highest in 16 years.

Ohio’s unemployment rate was 7.2 percent in July, up from 6.6 percent in June. That makes it the highest rate since 1992 when unemployment was also 7.2 percent.

“You got to eat,” says Dwayne Neal. “You’ve got to work everyday. I love to work. Like I said, name it, I’ve done it.”

One of the state’s unemployed workers is 54-year-old Dwayne Neal who walks every morning to a temporary job service agency on West Broad Street in Columbus looking for work.

“I’m just in the process of going through Labor Ready here; trying to find some work,” Neal says. “Yeah, it’s just, work’s slow right now. There’s no work anywhere, I’ve tried everywhere.”

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services says the largest declines last month were in leisure and hospitality; trade, transportation and utilities, and in state government. Brian Harter is a spokesman for the department:

“Employers in general across the state and across the country are real leery about hiring right now,” Harter says. They’re trying to cut their costs and that’s not helping things here in Ohio either.”

Dwayne Neal says he’s been unemployed for several months. He gets by he says on an occasional day’s work through the employment service, by living with a brother and by baby-sitting his grandchildren from time to time. But for now he says he needs to find a steady job.

“I sit in here. I get in here every morning at 5 o’clock, 5 a.m. I get up at 3:30. I sit up here till they got something. If they don’t, I just move on,” says Neal.

Ohio’s 7.2 percent jobless rate tops the national unemployment rate of 5.7 percent.

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