Ohio’s unemployment rate continues to inch downward.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said Friday the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for November was 6.8 percent. That’s down from 6.9 percent in October and 7.1 percent in September.
The unemployment rate is the lowest since August 2008 and down from 8.1 percent in November 2011.
The number of unemployed Ohio residents in November was 391,000, a slight decrease from 396,000 the previous month, according to state data.
State officials have said Ohio’s economy and its job market are getting stronger, though the process is slow.
Ohio’s unemployment rate has remained about a full percentage point below the U.S. rate, which was 7.7 percent in November, down from 8.7 percent a year ago.
The bulk of the 100,400 non-agricultural jobs added statewide during the past year were in the service industries, accounting for 83,000 jobs.
The biggest gains during the 12-month period occurred in educational and health services, which added 25,100 jobs.
Ohio’s non-agricultural wage and salary employment rose 1,600 from October to November, from a revised 5,195,900 in October to 5,197,500 in November, according to data released from the state and the U.S. Department of Labor.
Trade, transportation and utilities added the most jobs statewide last month (8,000), while leisure and hospitality, construction, government, professional and business services and information industries lost jobs.
Gains also were seen in financial activities, education and health services and manufacturing, while mining and logging remained unchanged over the month.
Across the country, payrolls increased in 30 states in November, and the unemployment rate dropped in 45, showing the job market improved across much of the U.S. even as Superstorm Sandy represented a setback for the Northeast.
North Carolina led the nation with a 30,600 gain in payrolls, followed by Florida with 24,500 more jobs, figures from the Labor Department showed. Employment dropped by 33,500 in New York and fell by 8,100 in New Jersey in the wake of storm.
“Progress in the labor market is slow and steady,” Sam Coffin, an economist at UBS Securities LLC in Stamford, Conn., said before the announcement of the national report. The unemployment rate dropped the most in Louisiana, falling 0.8 percentage point to 5.8 percent in November. Nevada’s jobless rate showed the second-biggest decrease, falling to 10.8 percent last month from 11.5 in October. Nonetheless, Nevada remained the state with the highest rate in the country. Rhode Island was second, with a rate of 10.4 percent, followed by California at 9.8 percent.
North Dakota had the lowest unemployment in the nation, holding at 3.1 percent.
Employers nationwide added 146,000 jobs last month, more than the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg and following a revised 138,000 gain in October, Labor Department data showed on Dec. 7. The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent as the labor force shrank.
State and local employment data are derived independently from the national statistics, which are typically released on the first Friday of every month. The state figures are subject to larger sampling errors because they come from smaller surveys, making the national figures more reliable, according to the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Federal Reserve on Dec. 12 said it will expand stimulus to spur growth. It also for the first time linked its interest-rate outlook to economic thresholds, saying rates will stay low “at least as long” as unemployment remains above 6.5 percent and if it projects inflation of no more than 2.5 percent one or two years in the future. Fed officials don’t see the jobless rate falling near that goal until 2015.