County jobless rate dropping

LISBON – The county’s unemployment rate dropped in February after increasing to nearly 10 percent the month before.

Columbiana County’s jobless rate dropped to 8.6 percent last month after skyrocketing to 9.9 percent in January, according to figures released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Meanwhile, Ohio’s February unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7 percent, while the national jobless rate dropped from 7.9 percent in January to 7.7 percent last month.

The estimated number of unemployed county residents dropped in February by 700 to 4,300, while the number of new claims for benefits also declined, from 579 to 373. Meanwhile, the number of people continuing to receive benefits decreased from 4,323 in January to 3,915 last month. The average benefit payment in February was $311 per week.

The unemployment rate is an estimate based on a formula that takes into account the number of people filing for and receiving benefits, in addition to a monthly phone survey of 50,000 households nationwide, including 2,000 in Ohio.

Among the adjoining Ohio counties, the county’s rate was higher than Mahoning (8.4 percent), Carroll (8.1 percent) and Stark (7.8 percent) but remains lower than Jefferson (10.1 percent).

The county’s jobless rate was the 29th highest among Ohio’s 88 counties. Pike County in southeastern Ohio retained the distinction of having the highest unemployment rate at 13.7 percent, while Mercer County along the Indiana border continued to have the lowest rate in the state at 4.8 percent.