Local jobless rate declines

WARREN – Jobless rates among local civilian employees rebounded in February from a January spike, according to statistics released Tuesday by the state Department of Job and Family Services.

February jobless rates for both Trumbull County, at 8.5 percent, and Mahoning, at 8.4 percent, were slightly improved from a year ago in February 2012, and each was a full point better than the numbers reported in January.

Municipal jobless numbers also showed improvement with Warren dipping to 8.8 percent, down 0.3 percent from last February, and Youngstown reporting 9.5 percent, down more than a full point from February 2012.

While all the local unemployment figures were higher than seasonally unadjusted jobless numbers for both Ohio and the nation, experts still were breathing a sigh of relief after January’s local figures showed a significant spike in unemployment.

“That is a good sign,” said Anthony Paglia, Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber of Commerce vice president of government and media affairs. “I think we are feeling good that the (hiring) trend is continuing.”

A spokesman for the state department of Job and Family Services said the increase in January unemployment may not necessarily be a bad thing.

Ben Johnson explained that statewide, figures showed the labor force grew significantly in January, a sign of a recovering economy.

“Coming out of a recession, we expect the labor force to start growing,” Johnson said. “We hadn’t seen the labor force really start to grow until January. It grew again in February.”

Conversely, when the labor force grows, often the number of unemployed workers being counted also will grow. That’s because often during times of recession, unemployed workers who have given up their job search will not be reported or counted as members of the work force.