Ohio’s unemployment rate fell again.
The state’s jobless rate was 6.9 percent in October, down from a revised figure of 7.1 percent in September, according to figures released Friday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services
That’s the lowest rate since August 2008, when it was 6.8 percent. Still, the total number of people working in Ohio continues to fall far short of numbers before the Great Recession hit.
Ohio’s unemployment rate has remained below the national rate, which ticked up to 7.9 percent in October from 7.8 percent in September.
The number of unemployed Ohio workers dropped by 10,000 to 396,000 last month.
Nonfarm payroll jobs increased to 5,191,900, up 13,900 from September. That’s the largest number of employed people for an October since a low of 5,011,300 in 2009.
The latest number is also far from a peak for the month — in October 2008 there were 5,316,300 people counted as employed; 5,421,700 employed in 2007 and as many as 5,622,500 for the month in 2000.
Last month, service jobs grew by 16,000 to 4,347,600. Professional and business services added 7,300; government increased 5,200; educational and health services rose by 3,400; other services added 3,100; financial activities grew by 400; leisure and hospitality was up 300; and information added 100. Trade, transportation, and utilities jobs fell 3,800.
Jobs in goods-producing industries fell 2,100 to 844,300 in October. Manufacturing lost 2,200 jobs. Construction added 300 jobs and mining and logging lost 200.
The latest jobs figures are encouraging but Ohio still has a long way to go to recover from job losses dating to 2000, said George Zeller, an economic research analyst based in Cleveland.
Preliminary figures show Ohio has gained 97,600 jobs for the first ten months of 2012, Zeller said in a note.
Since the start of the Great Recession in December 2007, Ohio has lost “a staggering 190,300 jobs, or 3.8 percent of Ohio’s employment,” he wrote.
Looking back to 2000, Ohio has lost 423,100 jobs, Zeller said.
“The October growth is very welcome, but the state clearly has a long way to go before it can recover the huge previous employment losses that Ohio suffered during the last 12 years,” Zeller said.
People with jobs also have been hurt by income cuts of nearly $6.6 billion from 2010 to 2011, Zeller noted. The average wage fell from $46,321 in 2010 to $44,470 in 2011, he said.
“Wages were cut by Ohio firms in 2011 in virtually all industries,” Zeller said.
A way needs to be found to resolve the slow jobs growth and the wage cuts, Zeller said.