Summit County’s jobless rate fell to 7.1 percent in April, down from 7.8 percent in March and 8.5 percent a year ago.
That is the lowest unemployment rate for the county since December 2008, when the rate was 7.5 percent.
Unemployment rates were also down in Akron and Cuyahoga Falls, according to figures released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services.
Jobless rates fell in 86 of Ohio’s 88 counties last month, the state said. Unemployment rates ranged from a low of 4.5 percent in Mercer County to a high of 13.5 percent in Pike County.
Akron had an unemployment rate of 8 percent in April, down from 8.6 percent in March and 9.4 percent in April 2011.
The jobless rate in Cuyahoga Falls was 6.7 percent in April, down from 7.5 percent in March and 7.7 percent a year ago.
“I feel that Northeast Ohio is on the upswing. I feel it,” said Carol McLaughlin, branch manager of the Akron office for Randstad, a global staffing company.
Employers in greater Akron cannot find enough skilled labor to fill available openings, she said. Randstad’s clients across multiple industries in the area are ramping up compared to a year ago, McLaughlin said.
Employers are looking for experienced machinists, CNC operators and welder/fabricators, McLaughlin said.
“We’re needing more of those. Skilled labor is in high demand,” she said.
The jobs typically pay well and come with benefits, she said.
But it looks like there aren’t enough people to fill available openings for reasons that include baby boomer retirements, people who relocated out of the area, and another group who do not envision skilled labor as a promising career, McLaughlin said.
There were 259,800 people counted as working in Summit County in April and 19,700 counted as unemployed. A year ago when the jobless rate was 8.5 percent, the state counted 258,700 people at work in the county and 24,000 unemployed.
Since 2000, the lowest unemployment rate for the month was 3.9 percent in 2000; 269,800 people were working and 11,000 unemployed. The highest rate was 10.5 percent in 2010, when 258,600 people were working and 30,200 counted as unemployed.
The unemployment rate does not count people who are unemployed and who have stopped looking for work or who are working part-time but want full-time work.
Elsewhere in Northeast Ohio:
• Cuyahoga County’s jobless rate fell from 7.1 percent in March to 7 percent in April; the rate was 7.7 percent a year ago. Cleveland had a jobless rate of 9.1 percent last month, down from 9.3 percent in March and 9.8 percent in April 2011.
• Medina County had a 5.6 percent unemployment rate last month, down from 6.3 percent in March and 6.8 percent a year ago.
• Portage County’s jobless rate fell to 6.9 percent last month from 7.8 percent in March and is down from 8.3 percent in April 2011.
• Stark County had an unemployment rate of 7.8 percent in April, down from 8.3 percent in March and 9.3 percent a year ago. Canton’s jobless rate fell to 9.4 percent in April from 10.2 percent in March; the rate was 10.8 percent a year ago.
• Wayne County’s jobless rate fell to 6.4 percent in April from 7.1 percent in March and 7.8 percent in April 2011.
Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or email@example.com