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Ohio jobless rate drops while state shows slower gains for 2011

By Jim Mackinnon
Beacon Journal business writer

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Ohio’s jobless rate improved in January, dropping to 7.7 percent from 7.9 percent in December, according to figures released Friday.

The number of unemployed people fell while the number of people with jobs rose, the state said.

The 7.7 percent rate compares with 9 percent in January 2011 and is the state’s lowest rate since the 7.6 percent recorded in November 2008.

The U.S. unemployment for January was 8.3 percent.

The unemployment rates have been adjusted to take into account seasonal factors.

Revised figures showed Ohio added 29,700 jobs in 2011, down from preliminary figures that showed a gain of 38,300 jobs, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said.

A Beacon Journal analysis showed Ohio created about 37,800 jobs in 2011, or about 34,600 fewer than previous estimates of 72,400 jobs.

Ohio averaged 5,084,775 jobs a month from December 2010 through December 2011, down an average of 15,042 a month from the state’s preliminary figures. The biggest one-month change in the 2011 revisions came in June, which now shows a drop of 30,400 jobs compared to June’s preliminary estimates, according to the analysis.

Even with the revisions, there were still job gains for the year, according to the newspaper’s review.

George Zeller, a Cleveland economic analyst who reviews state economic data, described the revisions as “massive.” But he said the figures also show Ohio continues economic growth, albeit slowly.

The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services figures are based on what is called the business establishment survey.

“We added jobs in 2011. But we added fewer jobs than the preliminary 2011 figures showed,” spokesman Ben Johnson said. “We added jobs in January of 2012.”

The revision of 38,300 job gains at the start of January to 29,700 jobs gained “was a downward revision,” Johnson said. “I would not call that a massive revision.”

The statewide jobs figures going back to the beginning of 2011 show slow improvement in Ohio’s economy, Johnson said.

The number of unemployed Ohio residents in January was 447,000, down from 458,000 in December. The number of unemployed people was down 79,000 from January 2011.

Nonfarm payroll jobs rose in January by 32,800 to 5,127,100 from 5,094,300 in December.

Service industry jobs rose by 25,200 in January to 4,291,100. Leisure and hospitality added 6,800; education and health services rose by 6,000; professional and business services added 5,300; trade, transportation and utilities rose by 3,200; financial activities were up 2,400; other services added 1,400; and government rose by 100.

Jobs in goods-producing industries rose by 7,600 to 836,000 in January. Construction added 6,200 jobs while manufacturing rose by 1,400 jobs.

County and large city unemployment rates for January are scheduled to be released Friday.

The state plans to release Ohio’s February jobless rate March 23, followed by county and city rates March 27.

Beacon Journal staff writer David Knox contributed to this story. 
Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or jmackinnon@thebeaconjournal.com.