Commissioners react to local unemployment figures

By Rob Wiercinski - bio | email

Posted by Kate Oatis - email

LUCAS COUNTY (WTOL) - While conducting the day-to-day business of Lucas County, commissioners were updated on the latest figures and were left wondering just how far employment levels will drop.

"At what point can you take the economists' figures and say 2010's the end and we're going to hit bottom and we can dig out from there?" speculated Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak.

Indeed, a new report shows between December and January, Lucas County's jobless rate went from 10.1 to 13.3 percent, and in the City of Toledo from 10.9 to more than 14 percent.

One commissioner sees it as ripple effects from the struggling auto industry.

"Some of the unemployment... you're going to see is those service related industries also that relied on people having regular employment to come and get their hair cut, get nails done, to buy that steak at the butcher, that's where we're heading now," said Pete Gerken.

While committing to create future jobs, county leaders are hoping the federal stimulus package will help turn the economy around.

"This is a national emergency and we're at the center of the emergency and we need help and we need it now," said Ben Konop.

With sales and income tax revenues falling, local governments have less to work with, while demand for services goes up during hard economic times.

"You start with the basics. You help people meet their daily needs now and you work toward how can you make people self-sufficient again," Skeldon Wozniak said.

While Lucas County department heads are now reviewing their budgets for potential new cuts over the next 60 days, Toledo City Council is deciding what to do with a revenue-raising measure presented by the mayor's office.

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