Low unemployment: Does it equate to great economy?

Unemployment Benefits
FILE - In this Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012, file photo, Carmen Nazario of Albany, N.Y., fills out an employment application during a job fair at the Marriott Hotel in Colonie, N.Y. The Labor Department reports on the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits last week on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)

BOARDMAN TWP, Ohio (WYTV) – Unemployment figures for the three-county area were released on Tuesday, and they’re as low as they’ve been in years.

So does everybody agree that the Mahoning Valley economy is much improved? WKBN went in search of the answer.

At Michael Alberini’s restaurant in Boardman, the answer is a resounding “yes”. Owner Michael Alberini says business is up 30% this year.

“I think people are out spending a lot more money,” says Alberini. “It’s being reflective in our annual sales. And therefore if they’re making money internally they’re spending money externally so it seems to be working out really well for us in terms of the restaurant industry.”

On the other hand, Trevor Carroll of Canfield has been looking for a job for three months. He has trouble believing the low unemployment numbers. Carroll says, “Coming from Houston, Texas, back up here, just the growing rate is not even close to what it is.”

Here are the unemployment figures for the three local counties:
Mahoning County: Aug. 5.2%, July 6.0%, Aug. 2014 6.4%
Trumbull County: Aug. 5.4%. July 6.2%, Aug. 2014 6.9%
Columbiana Co: Aug. 4.9%, July 5.7%, Aug. 2014 6.3%

A representative for Ohio Means Jobs Mahoning and Columbiana Counties says she couldn’t point to one, single reason for the improvement in the jobs numbers.

At Ironworkers Local 207, Business Manager Rick Ellis says all 300 of his members are working. “Our work’s predicated on the economy. And when the economy’s running better, we work. When people got money they’re building things and they spend money and we go to work.”

Ellis says summer is better than winter when it comes to keeping Ironworkers employed.

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