CINCINNATI (TDB) -- State officials say that the unemployment rate rose in 75 of Ohio's 88 counties last month. Seven counties now are over the 10% mark -- Monroe and Pike counites in Appalachian Ohio lead the state with 11.1% of their residents out-of-work.
The other counties with the highest jobless percentages are:
Morgan, 10.8; Huron and Ottawa, 10.4; Adams, 10.3 and Meigs, 10.2.
Overall, the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.3% in January, the latest month for which a statewide figure is available. The number is slightly better than December's 5.6, but still trails the nation as a whole, which had a 4.6% unemployment rate in January.
Of note is Mercer County at the center of the state's soybean and corn belt, which had Ohio's lowest jobless rate at 4%. Mercer has dairies and frequently is the state's top producing agricultural county in value of crops harvested from its fields.
The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services press release is HERE. A map with a county-by-county breakdown will appear by clicking HERE.
Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland took office in early January, and the report shows the state lost 12,000 jobs that month. It is too early for the blame to fall on Strickland, who campaigned last year on a theme to turn around the state's poor performing economy. But people are beginning to count the jobs lost -- or added -- on Strickland's watch, and they have started keeping track of the monthly unemployment reports. And if the numbers continue heading South the Democrats will no doubt face withering criticism for not engineering the fixes Ohioans expected.
What is so disturbing about the latest report is the tough straits the seven counties over 10% are in. And they are not all in Appalachia -- Huron and Ottawa are in the north and have had chronic problems for years.