Lawrence Krakowski says he sees signs of economic growth in the area.
He’s the chief executive officer of Medina-based Krakowski Trucking Inc., a small privately owned trucking firm, and he’s looking to hire. Then again, he says he is almost always looking to hire in large part because of a national shortage of truck drivers.
“There’s always demand for drivers,” Krakowski said. “We’ve had a large pickup in business.”
When the economy took its dramatic fall in 2008 and 2009, a lot of competitors went out of business and that helped his trucking company, he said.
“We’re high-end service. Our customers stuck with us,” Krakowski said. If the economy keeps growing slowly, he’d like to expand his business this year.
“Finding the right [experienced] drivers is key,” he said.
Medina County was one of the bright spots in Tuesday’s state release of county and city jobless rates. Medina County’s unemployment rate fell.
Summit County’s jobless rate, meanwhile, inched upward in December but was down from a year ago. The county’s unemployment rate was 6.2 percent last month, compared with 6 percent in November, and 7.4 percent in December 2011.
Akron’s unemployment rate rose to 6.8 percent last month from 6.6 percent in November; the rate was 8.3 percent a year ago.
The jobless rate in Cuyahoga Falls ticked up to 5.9 percent in December from 5.7 percent in November. The rate was 7.2 percent in December 2011.
Jobless rates rose in 67 of Ohio’s 88 counties. The low was 3.9 percent in Mercer County; the highest rate, 12.3 percent, was in Pike County. The unemployment rate figures do not count people who are unemployed but stopped looking for work or who are working part time but want a full-time job.
The monthly county and city unemployment figures were not adjusted to take into account seasonal factors. Ohio had a comparable jobless rate of 6.6 percent; the seasonally adjusted rate was 6.8 percent. The national unemployment rate was 7.6 percent; the seasonally adjusted rate was 7.8 percent.
Summit County had an average jobless rate of 6.9 percent in 2012, down from the 2011 average of 8.5 percent. Last year there was an average of 262,000 people employed each month and an average of 19,500 people unemployed; in 2011 the average was 259,000 working and 24,000 not working.
Jobs in both goods-producing and service industries fell from November to December in Summit and Portage counties, a separate state jobs report showed Tuesday. Jobs in the two-county Akron Metropolitan Statistical Area totaled 326,800 in December, down 3,500 from November.
Service industry jobs fell by 1,400, with the largest drop of 900 in leisure and hospitality. Goods-producing jobs fell by 2,100, with mining, logging and construction losing 1,200 and manufacturing falling 900.
There were 263,800 people counted as working last month in all of Summit County, up from 260,000 in December 2011. Since 2000, the peak number of people working in December in Summit County was 281,500 in 2006, when the jobless rate was 5.2 percent.
There were 17,400 people counted as jobless last month, down from 20,800 in December 2011. Since 2000, the peak number of unemployed people in December was 30,200 in 2009.
Elsewhere in Northeast Ohio:
• Cuyahoga County’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.6 percent from 7 percent in November. The rate was 7.1 percent in December 2011.
• Cleveland’s jobless rate was 8.5 percent last month, down from 8.9 percent in November and down from 9.5 percent a year ago.
• Medina County’s unemployment rate was 5.6 percent last month, down slightly from 5.7 percent in November and down from 6.0 percent in December 2011.
• Portage County’s jobless rate rose to 6.2 percent in December from 6.0 percent in November. The rate was 7.2 percent a year ago.
• Stark County’s jobless rate rose to 6.7 percent in December from 6.4 percent in November. The rate was 7.9 percent a year ago.
• Canton’s jobless rate inched up to 7.6 percent last month from 7.5 percent in November, and was down from 9.3 percent a year ago.
• Wayne County had a 5.5 percent jobless rate last month, down from 5.4 percent in November and down from 6.6 percent in December 2011.
As for Krakowski, he said he does not pay a lot of attention to media economic reports.
“I look around in real life,” he said. “I look around me. I look at the traffic on the road, the stores.”
Slow, steady growth is better for jobs than a sudden spike upward, Krakowski said. “In other words, it will put more people to work over the long haul.”