Lucas County’s unemployment rate fell from February to March, but remains slightly higher than it was a year ago, according to data released today by the state.
The county’s 8.5 percent unemployment rate in March was half a percentage point lower than the 9 percent recorded for February. In March, 2012, the rate was 8.4 percent, the state said.
The rate in the city of Toledo fell by the same amount from February to March, going from 9.6 percent to 9.1 percent. In March, 2012, Toledo’s unemployment rate was 9 percent.
In Wood County, the jobless rate fell from 7.4 percent in February to 7.2 percent in March. The rate also fell in Fulton (9.5 percent to 8.9 percent) and Ottawa (12.9 percent to 11.9 percent) counties.
Ottawa and Huron counties have the highest unemployment rates in northwest Ohio, while Hancock County (5.8 percent) has the lowest.
Because the local data are not seasonally adjusted, economists say the more apt comparison is year to year. Wood, Fulton, and Ottawa all have lower unemployment rates than they did a year ago.
State officials said last week the seasonally adjusted, statewide unemployment rate was unchanged for March at 7.1 percent.
But job growth in Ohio showed signs of stalling in March, a departure from the steady gains that had been in evidence since the recession ended. Ohio employers cut 20,400 jobs in March — the most in the country.
The state’s survey of households showed that the number of unemployed Ohioans increased by 1,000 last month, to 406,000.
Coming out of the recession, Ohio had been among the states with the best job growth, and the state added 22,300 jobs in the first two months of this year. But last month’s loss nearly wiped out those gains.
Only people who are actively looking for work but can’t find a job are considered unemployed. The survey does not include people who have given up looking for work or people who are working part-time but would like to be full-time.
The Columbus Dispatch contributed to this report.