COLUMBUS (TDB) -- State officials are reporting that Ohio's jobless rate fell to 5% in February, which means it is trailing the overall national number, 4.5%, by a half point. The latest Ohio data shows unemployment decreased in in 81 counties last month. Analysts said more Ohioans would have been working but severe winter weather set back construction projects.
"The severe winter storms in mid-February appear to have skewed labor market data as job seekers were less likely to be looking for work while employers also reported a decline in employmment. Nearly half of the employment decline for the month was in construction."
That word is from Helen Jone-Kelly, director of the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services.
[UPDATE: PsychoBillyDemocrat has additional information, including a link to Policy Matters Ohio, which has an analysis of the Ohio job market during much of this decade.]
In all, there were 5,423,600 Ohioans who had jobs in February. That was about 10,000 fewer than January. The jobless rate was down because there were fewer people looking for work. Six counties in Appalachian Ohio had rates at or near 10%. Only one of the state's big cities, Columbus, beat the national average. For the cities, the jobless rates are:
Akron -- 6% unemployed, down from 6.6% in January.
Cincinnati -- 5.2 Feb; 5.8 Jan.
Cleveland -- 7.5 Feb; 7.9 Jan.
Columbus -- 4.4 Feb; 4.7 Jan.
Dayton -- 6.4 Feb; 8.3 Jan.
Toledo -- 6.5 Feb; 8.7 Jan.
Youngstown -- 7.3 Feb; 8.5 Jan.