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Published: Saturday, 9/20/2008

Ohio's unemployment rate grows to 7.4%


COLUMBUS - Ohio's economy was jolted further last month, as the statewide jobless rate jumped to 7.4 percent.

The figure, released yesterday from the state Department of Job and Family Services, was up from 7.2 percent in July and is higher than the 6.1 percent nationally.

"Larger decreases in goods-producing sectors resulted from continued losses in manufacturing and durable goods," agency director Helen Jones-Kelley said.

The bulk of the blame goes to the automotive industry, which continues to trim jobs and have layoffs related to poor sales.

Fewer people think the economy is worsening, and more are confident in finding new work, a new poll by Spherion Corp., a staffing agency, indicates.

The rate, among the highest in the nation, is far behind the one in Michigan, which this week said it had 8.9 percent unemployment in August, highest in the country. Rhode Island's rate was 8.5 percent.

Ohio's rate is its highest in 16 years, with 13,000 more jobless people in August than in July. The number of unemployed has increased by 106,000 in 12 months. The number of employed workers shrunk by 3,700 to 5.4 million.

Jobless figures for individual counties will be released Tuesday. For July, Toledo had one of the highest rates in the state at 10 percent.

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