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Ohio jobless rate below 9% for 1st time in 2 years

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Representatives from Walmart speak to job seekers at a job fair held at Cleveland State University.

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Ohio’s unemployment rate dropped below 9 percent last month for the first time in more than two years, a report released Friday said.

The rate was 8.9 percent, down from 9.2 percent in February, according to the state Department of Job and Family Services. It was 10.5 percent in March, 2010, and remained above 10 percent for the first seven months last year. The last time the rate was below 9 percent was January, 2009, at 8.6 percent.

The number of unemployed last month was 526,000, down 16,000 from the month before and 93,000 from a year earlier, the state said.

Employment increased by 2,200 last month to 5.08 million.

The sectors with the biggest job gains last month were manufacturing (up 7,100) and education and health services (up 3,400), the state said. Sectors with the biggest job losses were construction (down 1,800) and government (down 1,500).

The U.S. jobless rate last month, previously released, was 8.8 percent, down from 8.9 percent the prior month.

County unemployment rates will be released Tuesday.

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