And even though manufacturing has taken the brunt of the recession, it hasn't hurt the local scene as in years past, said Erich Hetzel, a labor market analyst with the state department's Bureau of Labor Market Information in Akron.
"When recessions come, as they periodically do, manufacturing gets hit the hardest," he
"We don't have the reliance on manufacturing like we used to have."
Manufacturing used to occupy about 35 percent of the workforce, he
said.Then, during a recession, the area would be much harder hit.
"As far as unemployment rates go during a recession, we're not seeing it," he
said.For instance, new claims for unemployment were very heavy in October and November, but December claims fell below those in December 1998.
Rates now are mirroring "typical, seasonal unemployment," he
The national jobless rate was 5.8 percent in December, compared with 5.6 percent the month before.
That's not likely to improve much, or soon.Officials at some of the county's largest companies have said they expect employment to remain fairly flat this year.Improvements may come from laid-off workers' being called back.
But signs are pointing to a slow recovery, Hetzel
"From what we're seeing statewide, it looks like (economic) indicators are starting to point up, which is a good thing," he
A two-quarter outlook made in November pointed at a 0.1 percent drop in unemployment, "which suggests a continuing weak economy," Hetzel
said."What I'm seeing, what I'm hearing, the middle of the summer is when we'll start seeing some kind of turnaround."
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