Summit County’s unemployment rate rose in December, jumping higher than the statewide average, but still remained slightly below levels from a year ago.
The county rate hit 4.8 percent last month, up from 4.6 percent in November and down from 4.9 percent in December 2014.
Unemployment rates rose in 68 of Ohio’s 88 counties, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reported Tuesday. Rates dropped in six counties and were unchanged in 14. Mercer County had the lowest unemployment rate at 3.1 percent. The highest jobless rate was 10.7 percent in Monroe County.
Akron’s unemployment rate was 5.5 percent last month, up from 5.3 percent in November and down from 5.6 percent a year ago.
The jobless rate in Cuyahoga Falls was 4.4 percent in December, up from 4.1 percent in November and down from 4.6 percent in December 2014.
The average annual jobless rate for Summit County was 4.9 percent, the lowest level since 4.6 percent in 2001. The 2015 average figure was down from 5.8 percent for 2014 and well below the peak, since 2000, of 10.6 percent for 2010.
But the unemployment rate tells only part of the labor story.
The state figures show that Summit County, which had 259,300 people counted as working last month, still has not recovered from the jobs lost in the 2007-2009 Great Recession — and there were fewer jobs in the county than 15 years earlier.
Since 2000, the number of people counted as working in Summit County for the month of December peaked at 283,300 in 2007. That’s 24,000 more people counted as working than the latest December figure.
There also were more people working in December 2000, at 269,400, than last month.
Summit County’s labor force for the month of December since 2000 peaked at 299,700 in 2007; the December 2015 labor force figure was 272,300.
The city and county rates are not adjusted to take into account seasonal factors. The comparable Ohio unemployment rate for December was 4.6 percent; the seasonally adjusted rate was 4.7 percent.
The unadjusted U.S. jobless rate was 4.8 percent; the seasonally adjusted rate was 5 percent.
Rates elsewhere in Northeast Ohio for December, November and December 2014:
• Cuyahoga County: 4, 3.9 and 5.3
• Cleveland: 5.2, 4.9 and 6.7
• Medina County: 3.2, 3 and 4.3
• Portage County: 4.8, 4.6 and 4.8
• Stark County: 5.8, 5.7 and 5.6
• Canton: 5.8, 5.7 and 5.6
• Wayne County: 3.8, 3.7 and 3.8
Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him @JimMackinnonABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/JimMackinnonABJ. His stories can be found at www.ohio.com/writers/jim-mackinnon.