COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio's unemployment rate dropped to 6.5 percent last month, the lowest rate in nearly six years, according to numbers released Friday by the state.
The seasonally adjusted rate was down from 6.9 percent in January and 7.1 percent in December, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
The rate is the lowest since June 2008, when it began trending upward as the Great Recession took hold. It also dipped below the national rate, which was 6.7 percent in February. That was up from 6.6 percent in January but well below the 7.7 percent national rate in February 2013.
The number of workers unemployed in Ohio in February was 377,000, down 18,000 from 395,000 in January. The number of unemployed has decreased by 44,000 in the past 12 months.
Ohio's nonfarm employment decreased by 4,600, from a revised 5,284,600 in January to 5,280,000 in February, according to the latest business establishment survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor and the state.
Losses in construction and mining and logging were partially offset by gains in manufacturing last month. The service-providing sector saw gains in educational and health services; trade, transportation, and utilities; and professional and business services. Those exceeded job losses in financial activities and leisure and hospitality.
Nonfarm employment has increased by 50,000 jobs in the past 12 months. Goods-producing industries gained 15,300 jobs. Manufacturing added 12,800 jobs, and construction added 1,400 in that period.
The news comes on the heels of a U.S. Department of Labor report released this week showing that Ohio had the second-biggest job gains of any state in January, adding 16,700 positions.
The January state employment report says 23 states reported more hiring for that month, while 27 said the number of jobs fell. Among those adding jobs, Ohio ranked behind only Texas, which added 33,900 positions.