Valley Gets Good News on Employment

While the nation’s economy continues to struggle, the local area has received a dose of good news.

Belmont County’s unemployment rate for July is listed at 7.5 percent, according to figures released by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. That is a major improvement from the beginning of 2011, as in January it stood at 10.8 percent.

“We know there are a lot of new businesses which have come to Belmont County,” said Susan Douglass, director of the Belmont County Department of Development/Community Improvement Corp. “In addition, we have held onto a strong basic economy.”

Douglass announced recently that Bill’s Towing of Bridgeport will expand and will move some of its operations to Fox Commerce Park, west of St. Clairsville.

Douglass said there are 12 good businesses in the park, and the area continues to expand. However, she said she is being cautious with the recent unemployment numbers as they are compiled by the state based on a number of different factors.

“It could be anywhere between people applying for benefits, or based on the number of those whose benefits have expired and those no longer looking for jobs,” Douglass said.

However, unemployment rates for neighboring counties are not as positive.

They are: Jefferson County, 10.3 percent; Harrison County, 10.6 percent; Guernsey County, 10.3 percent; and Monroe County, 11.5 percent.