Unemployment in Summit County as well as many other Ohio counties grew in May, as more people were looking for work.
Ben Johnson, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, said increases in county and city unemployment rates this time of year are largely due to college and high school graduates entering the labor force, searching for jobs.
“The unemployment rate went up in 55 of the 88 [Ohio counties],” Johnson said. “In most counties there were more people working — but there were also more people looking for work.”
Johnson noted the U.S. Census Bureau’s unemployment survey — used to determine the rate — also counts high schoolers looking for summer jobs as unemployed.
Summit County’s unemployment rate for May was 6.6 percent. That’s up from 6.4 percent in April and 6.5 percent in May 2012, according to seasonally unadjusted figures released Tuesday by the Department of Job and Family Services.
Akron’s jobless rate was 7.4 percent. That’s up slightly from the 7.1 percent for April and unchanged from a year ago.
In the city of Cuyahoga Falls, the rate for May ticked up to 6.1 percent. That compares with 6 percent for April. The May rate is unchanged from a year ago.
The comparable — seasonally unadjusted — rate for Ohio was 6.9 percent this May.
In Summit County, the number of people working last month increased to 264,000 — up from 263,500 in April and from 261,700 in May 2012.
The number of people in the labor force — those working or looking for work — was 283,200 in May. That’s an increase from 281,500 in April and from 279,900 a year ago.
The number of people counted as unemployed in the county increased to 18,600 in May, up from 18,000 in April and 18,200 in May 2012.
Summit County’s peak employment for the month since 2000 was in May 2006, when there were 278,800 people working. That was before the start of Great Recession, which officially began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009.
In other jobs-related news released Tuesday, the state said that the number of people working in Summit and Portage counties totaled 330,700 in May. That’s an increase of 2,500 from April.
The goods-producing sector, with 52,300 jobs, added 2,900 positions. The gains came from mining, logging and construction (2,600 jobs added in May), as well as manufacturing (300 jobs).
Service industries in the two counties, meanwhile, grew by 2,300 jobs.
However, the government sector lost 2,700 jobs, with declines in state government jobs exceeding gains in local government jobs.
Here’s what the state reported for other area counties:
• Stark County’s jobless rate was up to 7.1 percent for May. That compares with 7 percent for April of this year and 7 percent from May 2012.
• Portage County recorded a rate of 6.7 percent for May, up from 6.2 percent a year ago and up from 6.6 percent last month.
• Medina’s rate of 5.8 percent was unchanged from a year ago, and down from 5.9 percent in April of this year.
• Wayne County’s rate also ticked upward from May 2012, inching up to 5.9 percent from 5.7 percent, and up from 5.6 percent last month.
Rates rose in 55 of Ohio’s 88 counties, with Mercer County recording the lowest rate statewide — 4.3 percent. Pike County had the highest rate of 11.9 percent.
Unemployment rates do not provide a complete picture of joblessness. The figures do not count people who are unemployed but have given up looking for work or who are working part time but want a full-time job.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or email@example.com.