COLUMBUS -- Ohio's unemployment rate dropped in May for the 10th consecutive month, reaching its lowest since October, 2008, the state Department of Job and Family Services said Friday.
The department said seasonally adjusted joblessness in Ohio decreased to 7.3 percent in May from 7.4 percent in April, and the state's nonfarm payrolls swelled by 19,600 compared with April's figures.
The number of unemployed Ohioans dropped by about 5,000, to 426,000 in May from 431,000 in April. Ohio has added more than 60,000 jobs so far this year, or more than twice the number it added in all of last year, Benjamin Johnson, a spokesman for Job and Family Services, said.
Last month, about 6,400 jobs were added in manufacturing, which has been one of the sectors helping to drive the state's economic recovery. The state also had gains of 4,500 jobs in professional and business services and 4,300 jobs in educational and health services.
Each of those categories has experienced a significant increase in jobs over the past year.
Companies have added nearly 76,000 Ohio jobs since May, 2011, when the state unemployment rate was 8.8 percent.
The new job numbers came out a day after the economy took center stage in the presidential race, with President Obama and Mitt Romney, his presumptive Republican opponent, speaking on the topic in opposite corners of Ohio, each taking aim at the other's economic approach.
The U.S. unemployment rate increased to 8.2 percent in May from 8.1 percent in April. Michigan's jobless rate rose to 8.5 percent in May from 8.3 percent in April, reversing a yearlong decline.
The U.S. Labor Department said unemployment rose in 18 states in May, the most in nine months. Unemployment fell in 14 states and was unchanged in 18 states.
Ohio ranked second in the number of jobs added, trailing only California.
During a visit to Buckeye Boys State in Bowling Green on Friday, Gov. John Kasich noted that Ohio had gained 94,300 jobs since he took office in early 2011.
Mr. Kasich said the greatest growth in jobs was in the financial services and health care sectors. He attributed the job growth to balancing the budget, cutting taxes, streamlining regulations, and creating the independent JobsOhio, a job-creating agency.