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Unemployment stays at 7%

COLUMBUS, Ohio – After jumping to 7.0 percent in January, Ohio’s unemployment rate stuck there in February, though the same optimism that greeted January’s figures can still be applied to February’s.

According to data released this morning by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Ohio’s labor force – the number of employed and unemployed workers – rose for the third consecutive month, suggesting that more people are feeling confident about finding a job and so are actively looking for jobs.

The state’s labor force totaled 5.598 million in February, compared with 5.580 in January.

Ohioans were shocked to see the jobless rate increase 0.3 percent between January and February, after falling in 14 of the previous 20 months, but economists say, when seasonally adjusted, the hike was not so dramatic and it reflected the optimism of job-seekers, who re-entered the market believing they would find jobs.

While the number of unemployed workers increased in February, it has decreased by 30,000 in the past 12 months. The February unemployment rate for Ohio was down from 7.5 percent in February 2012.

The U.S. unemployment rate for February was 7.7 percent, down from 7.9 percent in January, and down from 8.3 percent in February 2012.

While Ohio’s goods-producing industries lost 2,500 jobs over the month due to declines in construction, manufacturing added 1,200 jobs. The service sector added 17,600 jobs, led by growth in professional and business services and educational and health services.

The state added 43,900 service sector jobs from February of 2012 through last month and 8,400 manufacturing jobs. Sizeable gains were posted in educational and health services; professional and business services and leisure and hospitality.

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