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Published: Saturday, 9/19/2009

Ohio joblessness falls to 10.8%


Ohio's unemployment rate dropped nearly half a percentage point last month to 10.8 percent, but it wasn't because more people were going back to work, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said Friday.

The rate dropped from 11.2 percent in July largely because fewer people actively sought work. That shrank the labor force, which meant that even though the number employed also went down, the jobless rate dropped.

The number of people employed in Ohio dropped 30,100 in August to 5,097,300, and the number of unemployed dropped 25,000 to 641,000.

Michigan's rate for August was 15.2 percent, up from 15 percent in July and highest in the nation. The national unemployment rate was 9.7 percent, up from 9.4 percent in July.

The rates for Ohio counties and cities will be released Tuesday by the state. Lucas County's rate in July was 14.4 percent and Toledo's was 15.4 percent.

The U.S. Department of Labor said yesterday that 42 states lost jobs in August, with the biggest payroll cuts coming in Texas, Michigan, Georgia, and Ohio.

The department said 27 states had increases in unemployment rates in August. Fourteen reported rates of 10 percent or above.

The federal report shows jobs remain scarce even as most analysts believe the economy is pulling out of the worst recession since the 1930s. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said this week that the recovery isn't likely to be rapid enough to reduce unemployment for some time.

The jobless rate nationwide is expected to peak above 10 percent next year, from its current 9.7 percent.

"You are seeing the pace of job losses slow a little bit," said Mike Lynch, a regional economist at IHS Global Insight. But states "are not out of the woods yet."

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