Jobless rate drops half point

LISBON – Columbiana County’s unemployment rate dropped by 0.5 percent in August after remaining stuck at 8.2 percent the two previous months.

The county’s jobless rate was 7.7 percent last month, according to figures released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Meanwhile, the state unemployment rate, which had been at 7.2 percent in July, increased slightly to 7.3 percent.

Ohio ranked second in the number of jobs lost, with non-farm employment decreasing by 8,200 in August. The biggest losses were in the leisure and hospitality industry, followed by education and health care.

The national unemployment rate declined from 7.4 percent to 7.3 percent in August, which was attributed to more unemployed who have quit looking for work and are no longer counted.

The unemployment rate is an estimate largely based on the number of people filing claims and a nationwide phone survey of 50,000 households. The estimate of job gains and losses is based on a survey of mostly large businesses and government agencies.

The estimated number of unemployed county residents in August decreased by 300 to 3,900, while the number of people with jobs increased by 100, to an estimated 46,900. New filings for unemployment benefits decreased from 455 in July to 337 last month, while the number of people continuing to receive benefits dropped over the same period, from 2,722 to 2,197. The average benefit in August was $308 per week.

Among the adjoining Ohio counties, Columbiana’s August unemployment rate was the same as Mahoning but higher than Stark (7.1 percent) and Carroll (6.7 percent) and lower than Jefferson (10 percent).

The county’s rate was the 23rd highest among Ohio’s counties. Pike County in southern Ohio resumed the top spot for highest unemployment rate at 12 percent. Mercer County along the Indiana border continued to have the lowest jobless rate at 4.3 percent.