Jobless figures shoot back up

LISBON – Columbiana County’s unemployment rate increased significantly in January to nearly 10 percent, the highest level in 11 months.

The county’s jobless rate was 9.9 percent, an increase of 2.2 percent from December 2012, the largest single monthly jump in four years, according to figures released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

The estimated number of unemployed residents jumped from 3,900 in December to 5,000 in January, while the number of new benefit claims actually decreased over the same period, from 841 to 579. Meanwhile, the number of first-time benefit recipients increased from 237 in December to 367 in January. The average payment benefit was $306 per week.

Ohio’s unemployment rate also increased in January, from 6.7 percent to 7 percent, while the nationwide jobless rate also increased, from 7.8 percent to 7.9 percent.

The unemployment rate is an estimate based on a formula that takes into account the number of people filing and receiving benefits, in addition to the results of 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 (9.4 percent), Carroll (9.5 percent) and Stark (8.7 percent) but lower than Jefferson (11.9 percent).

The county’s jobless rate was the 28th highest among Ohio’s 88 counties. Pike County in southeastern Ohio retained the dubious distinction of having the highest unemployment rate in January (15.3 percent). Mercer County, located on the Indiana border, continued to have the lowest unemployment rate at 5.3 percent.