Portage County's jobless rate dropped a half a percent from January to February, from 8.1 percent to 7.6 percent, according to statistics released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
The county's labor force increased from 90,800 in January to 91,600 last month and the number of people working increased from 83,400 to 84,600, and the number of jobless dropped from 7,400 to 6,900, according to ODJFS.
Portage dropped to 54 on the state's county ranking report. Portage is usually in the mid-60s among Ohio's 88 counties. ODJFS said rates decreased in every county in February. Among the counties, jobless rates ranged from a low of 4.8 percent in Mercer County to a high of 13.7 percent in Pike County.
Seven counties had unemployment rates below 6.5 percent and six counties had rates about 12 percent.
The U.S. and Ohio rates, seasonally adjusted, were 7.7 and 7.0 percent, respectively. That's down from 7.9 percent for the U.S. in January and unchanged for Ohio. In February 2012, the rate for Ohio was 7.5 percent in and the U.S. rate was 8.3 percent.
Ohio's nonfarm employment increased 16,100 over the month from a revised 5,181,100 in January to 5,197,200 in February.
The number of jobless in Ohio last month was 401,000, up from 399,000 in January, according to ODJFS. The number of unemployed has decreased by 30,000 in the past 12 months.
The February rates for the six counties contiguous to Portage (and their January rates) are: Cuyahoga 7.7 (8.3); Geauga 7.3 (7.6); Mahoning 8.4 (9.4); Stark 7.8 (8.7); Summit 7.2 (8.0); and Trumbull 8.5 (9.5).
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