Jobless rate still above state average

LISBON – Columbiana County’s unemployment rate dropped in February after increasing the month before, but it still remains well above the state and national average.

The jobless rate dropped to 7.8 percent last month after jumping to 8.4 percent in January, according to figures released by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. January’s unemployment rate was the highest in nearly a year.

Meanwhile, Ohio’s unemployment rate dropped from 6.9 percent in January to 6.5 percent last month, while the national figure increased slightly over the same period, from 6.6 percent to 6.7 percent.

Among the adjoining Ohio counties, Columbiana County’s jobless rate was higher than Carroll (7.7 percent) and Stark (7 percent) but lower than Mahoning (7.9 percent) and Jefferson (10 percent).

The jobless rate dropped in 86 of Ohio’s 88 counties, with the rate remaining the same in the other two.

The county’s February unemployment rate was the 33rd highest in Ohio, with Monroe County in southern Ohio again ranking first at 14.2 percent. Mercer County along the Indiana border continued to have the lowest unemployment rate at 4.3 percent.

According to the state, an estimated 3,900 county unemployed residents were actively seeking work last month, down from 4,200 in January. Approximately 46,200 residents were employed last month, an increase of 300.

Meanwhile, the number of residents continuing to receive unemployment benefits dropped in February, from 4,399 to 3,982. The average weekly benefit in February was $327.