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December unemployment 6.7%

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio’s unemployment rate was down slightly in December, to 6.7 from 6.8 percent in November, according to data released by the state this morning.

It was the fourth straight month of small declines and brings the unemployment rate to its lowest level since July of 2008, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

However, there was little change in the percentage of Ohioans working or seeking work from the year before, reflecting a mid-year employment slump.

The workforce had declined by 46,000 since reaching 5.812 million in May.

The state says employment decreased by 9,400 jobs during December while the number of unemployed workers was 3,000 fewer than in November and 70,000 fewer than a year ago when the unemployment rate was 7.9 percent.

The 388,000 Ohioans listed as unemployed was the smallest number in 4-1/2 years.

The U.S. unemployment rate for December was 7.8 percent

The average monthly unemployment rate for Ohio during 2012 was 7.2 percent, down from 2011’s 8.6, the fourth straight annual decline since the 2009 peak of 10.1 percent.

Employment rose by 90,700 jobs in the 12 months ending in December with the service sector adding 70,100 jobs.

Manufacturing gained 15,300 jobs through increases in both durable and nondurable goods and the construction sector added 6,100 jobs.

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