FILE - In this Friday, Aug. 17, 2012 file photo, Sheila Bird, right, waits in line for employment interviews at a job fair at City Target in Los Angeles. The Labor Department said Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, that unemployment rates rose in 26 states last month, the latest evidence that hiring remains tepid across the country. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)
COLUMBUS — For the second straight month, Ohio’s unemployment rate has held steady at 7.2 percent.
The state said Friday that the number of unemployed workers fell by 5,000 last month to 418,000. A separate survey of companies found that they cut 2,000 jobs last month.
Still, the rate remains well below the national average, which was 8.1 percent in August. And it’s well below Ohio’s rate of 8.8 percent in August, 2011.
Gov. John Kasich warned Friday that Ohio’s economy is not as strong as he would like and he's seeing signs of a possible slowdown. Mr. Kasich says he’s concerned that businesses are in a holding pattern until after the election and that the state won’t continue to see gains.
Mr. Kasich, a supporter of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, told the Associated Press that Ohio must be prepared to move forward regardless of the election’s outcome.
Before July, Ohio’s unemployment rate had fallen for 11 straight months. The rate peaked at 10.6 percent at the end of 2009 and early 2010.
Last month, the state reported a loss of 7,100 jobs in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector and a loss of 4,800 jobs in educational and health services.
The leisure and hospitality sector gained 3,500 jobs, construction added 2,600 jobs and professional and business services added 2,200 jobs.
The manufacturing sector, which has added 20,200 jobs over the past year and has been a leader in the state’s rebounding economy, lost 100 jobs last month.
During the past year, the number of unemployed workers has fallen by 95,000 while companies have added 98,300 jobs.
Across the country, unemployment rates rose in 26 U.S. states last month, the latest evidence that hiring remains tepid across the country. The Labor Department said rates fell in 12 states and were unchanged in the other 12.
Unemployment also rose in seven of the 11 key swing states in this year’s presidential election. Michigan announced Wednesday that the unemployment rate there rose from 9 percent in July to 9.4 percent in August. The rate ticked up 0.1 point to 12.1 percent in Nevada, which has the highest unemployment in the nation.