Looks like it is going to be a better time to dust off and refine resumes and cover letters.

The latest leading economic indicators for the greater Akron area foreshadow stronger jobs growth late this spring and into early summer, according to figures released Wednesday.

The leading indicator index for Summit and Portage counties — the Akron metropolitan area — rose by 0.6 of a point from 98.2 in January to 98.8 in February, the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services said. That rise suggests stronger employment growth going into the summer. The index was at 97.3 a year ago.

Jobs in the two-county region rose by 1,800 from January to 328,600 in February and were up from 323,400 in February 2012.

The Ohio leading indicator index rose by 0.3 points to 92.3 in February, meaning there should be job growth in coming months. Nationally, the Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index rose by 0.5 points from 94.3 in January to 94.8 in February.

The Akron metro area index showed:

• Initial claims for unemployment insurance dropped from 4,112 in January to 2,664 in February. Claims were up slightly from 2,615 a year ago.

• Average weekly hours for manufacturing fell from 41.5 hours in January to 41.4 hours in February. Hours were up from 41.1 a year ago.

• The value of housing permits increased to nearly $7.5 million in February from nearly $6.1 million in January, and up from $4 million a year ago.

Elsewhere in Northeast Ohio:

• The index for the Canton-Massillon metro area rose 0.7 points to 89.3 in February, suggesting higher job growth ahead.

• The index for the Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor region rose to 90.4 in February from 89.8 in January, indicating job growth in coming months.

• The index for the Youngstown-Warren-Boardman metro area rose 0.6 points to 88 in February, meaning jobs should increase in the next several months.

Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or jmackinnon@thebeaconjournal.com