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Published: Tuesday, 7/31/2012

Local gauge of economic activity holds steady in month


Statistics the state of Ohio released Monday suggest slow job growth will take place in metro Toledo through the early fall as the area's leading economic indicators index remained unchanged for a second consecutive month.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said Toledo's index held steady at 88.1 in June.

The state index factors employment, initial jobless claims, average weekly hours in manufacturing, and valuation of housing permits to gauge future economic growth. Metro Toledo was one of three areas whose index reading was unchanged from May to June. The other two were Cleveland, which maintained its 88.3 reading, and Youngstown, which was stuck at 88.4.

Officials use figures from 2000 as a baseline for 100. The state index rose 0.1 percent to 91.8.

Despite the index remaining steady, there was some improvement in metro Toledo. Job and Family Services said initial claims for unemployments in June were down compared with both May and June, 2011. Officials said there were 2,884 such claims, 4.7 percent lower than in May and 27 percent lower than last June. Housing permits were up 10.6 percent from May and 26.4 percent from June, 2011.

The number of average weekly hours put in by manufacturing employees in June was 41.3, down 1 percent from May and up 1.2 percent from June, 2011.

Of the eight metro areas that Job and Family Services tracks, Canton had the best gain from May to June, at 0.6 percent, followed by Columbus at 0.4 percent. The indexes for Akron and Cincinnati rose 0.3 percent, and Dayton's rose 0.2 percent.

State officials said the national economic indicators index fell in June to 95.6, pointing to very slow U.S. job growth.

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