COLUMBUS — Ohio’s unemployment rate fell slightly to 7 percent in April after being stuck at 7.1 percent the two previous months, according to state data released Friday.
Ohio’s jobless rate remains below the national rate, which was 7.5 percent in April.
In April, 2012, the Ohio jobless rate was 7.4 percent.
Ohio leaders have said repeatedly that the state’s economy and its job market are getting stronger, but the process will be slow.
Ohio’s unemployment rate peaked at 10.6 percent during the last half of 2009 and early 2010 before sliding.
The U.S. Department of Labor reported U.S. payrolls expanded by 165,000 jobs nationally in April, and the 7.5 percent unemployment rate was a four-year low. However, analysts say the numbers don’t show explosive job growth by any measure.
State officials reported the number of nonagricultural jobs in Ohio increased 7,600 in April, to 5,183,000, according to the latest business establishment survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor, in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
The number of unemployed workers in Ohio in April was 400,000. That was down from 407,000 in March. The number of unemployed in the state has decreased 21,000 in the past year. Only people actively looking for work are counted as unemployed.
Ohio saw a gain of 5,300 jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector. A gain of 3,500 jobs also was reported in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector, and a 2,400-job increase in manufacturing. The professional and business services sector lost 2,300 jobs last month, the construction sector was off 1,400 jobs, and the financial activities sector lost 1,000 jobs.
Over the last year, employers say they’ve added 4,400 jobs. The number of government workers has dropped by 14,000 over the last year. Unemployment rates fell in 40 U.S. states last month, the government said.
The Labor Department said unemployment rates increased in only three states: Louisiana, Tennessee, and North Dakota. Rates were unchanged in seven states. The report said 30 states added jobs in April, while 18 reported fewer jobs.