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Published: Saturday, 9/17/2005

NW Ohio jobless rates fall

Jobless rates in Toledo and all of northwest Ohio s 16 counties fell last month, a positive economic sign as the state s rate rose.

The August unemployment rate for Ohio was 5.9 percent, up from 5.7 percent in July. Three local counties Putnam, Van Wert, and Hancock were among those with the lowest rates statewide, according to figures released yesterday by the state Department of Job and Family Services.

Parts of Ohio are improving while others, such as the Youngstown area, continue to lag, said Richard DeKaser, chief economist at National City Corp. in Cleveland.

What s disconcerting about the Ohio figure is that it predates Hurricane Katrina, a disaster that will soften the economy for a while, Mr. DeKaser said.

Toledo s unemployment rate dropped to 7.1 percent last month, but Lucas County has the highest rate in northwest Ohio at 6.5 percent. The lowest rate locally was Putnam County, at 4.5 percent.

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