COLUMBUS — Ohio's unemployment rate rose slightly to 7 percent in January, an increase partly attributed to more people looking for work as the economic recovery continues, according to numbers released today.
The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January was up from 6.7 percent in December and 6.8 percent in November, the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services reported.
The rate is skewed by the fact that 11,000 more people were looking for work in January than in December, jobs agency spokesman Benjamin Johnson said. An increase in job searchers is typical during an economic recovery, he said.
“When a recession ends, we expect at some point to see the labor force start to grow again as those people regain confidence and start looking for a job again,” Johnson said. “It remains to be seen whether this is specific to January, or the whether this is a trend and the labor force will grow over the coming months.”
The number of non-farm wage and salary workers employed in the state last month actually increased by 3,800 to 5,178,800.
“A growing labor force is a positive development, even though it often increases the unemployment rate temporarily,” Johnson said.
January marked the first time Ohio's monthly unemployment rate failed to decline or at least remain steady since July 2011, according to state data. The rate has fallen steadily since peaking at 10.6 percent during 2009 and 2010. It averaged 7.2 percent last year. The 7 percent rate in January was the highest since September.
The Ohio unemployment rate continues to remain well below the national rate. The U.S. unemployment rate for February was 7.7 percent, down from 7.9 percent in January.
The number of workers unemployed in Ohio in January was 399,000, up from 385,000 in December, according to the jobs agency.
Goods-producing industries in the state added 3,900 jobs in January. Gains were also seen in construction, manufacturing, and mining and logging. Job losses were seen in trade, transportation, and utilities, financial activities, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality.
Government employment declined by 900.