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Published: Saturday, 8/18/2012

Jobless rate holds steady in Ohio


COLUMBUS -- Ohio's unemployment rate held steady last month at 7.2 percent, according to state figures released Friday.

Before July, the state's unemployment rate had fallen for 11 straight months.

Even by holding steady, the rate remains well below the U.S. rate of 8.3 percent.

Ohio was one of only six states in which the unemployment rate did not rise from June to July.

Unemployment rose in July in 44 states, the highest number in more than three years.

Michigan's unemployment rate jumped to 9 percent in July from 8.6 percent in June. Its rate in July, 2011, was 10.6 percent.

Unemployment rates rose in nine states that are considered battlegrounds in the presidential election; Ohio was the only swing state that didn't suffer an increase.

That trend, if it continued, could pose a threat to President Obama's re-election bid in less than three months.

Still, 31 states gained jobs in July, while 19 lost them.

In Ohio, the number of unemployed workers fell by 2,000 last month to 418,000 and is down by 97,000 over the past year.

Meanwhile, the state's employers added 11,000 jobs last month.

Total employment has grown by 100,300 over the past year, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

The educational and health services sector added 11,700 jobs.

There also were gains in the categories of trade, transportation, and utilities; financial activities; and professional and business services.

Manufacturing, which was a bright spot in Ohio since the end of the recession, added another 3,200 jobs last month and is now up by 20,900 jobs over the past year.

Ohio's unemployment peaked at 10.6 percent at the end of 2009 and early 2010.

In Michigan, the state said the number of jobless state residents actively seeking work rose by 19,000 in July, while the size of the state's labor force was little changed.

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