Ohio’s Jobless Rate Down, Thanks to Utica Shale

Compared to April -- and several previous months -- Coshocton County Ohio's job prospects are looking pretty good.

Coshocton's unemployment rate was 9.3 percent for May. That's compared to 10.2 percent in April and 11.3 percent in May 2011.

In fact, the last time Coshocton saw a rate this low was in November 2008, when the rate also was 9.3 percent.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the latest unemployment figures Tuesday. The numbers, which are not seasonally adjusted, show lower unemployment all around, with Ohio dropping to 6.9 percent unemployment overall, and the U.S. as a whole dropping to 7.9 percent.

"I think there are opportunities out there for people looking for jobs," said Coshocton County Port Authority Director Dorothy Skowrunski. "They're predicting that June's numbers are even going to be better. It's really good news for Coshocton."

Skowrunski attributes Coshocton's lower rate to a combination of factors, including seasonal employment, businesses filling vacant positions and businesses expanding.

Utica Shale also is playing a role, Skowrunski said. So far, there only are three Utica permits for Coshocton County, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, but already Skowrunski has noticed an increase in trucking jobs, she said.

If Utica activity continues to increase, that will mean even more jobs, not just for those working directly for oil and gas companies but for ancillary businesses such as hotels, restaurants and Laundromats as well, she said.

"They're gearing up for frac'ing, and they need a variety of different kinds of people to come in and fill those jobs," she said. "... Everyone's going to be competing for those employees."