Valley jobless rate hits 18-month low

WARREN – Local unemployment numbers dropped a point and a half in March from March 2013 numbers to 7 percent and nearly a full point from February, according to figures released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

It was the Mahoning Valley’s lowest jobless rate since September 2012, when it hit 6.9 percent.

Trumbull County numbers hit 7.1 percent, down from 8.5 percent in March 2013 and 7.9 percent in February. Mahoning County jobless was at 7 percent, down from 8.5 percent a year ago, and down from 7.9 percent in February.

Municipal unemployment numbers also were down in March for both Warren and Youngstown. Warren’s jobless rate was listed at 7.6 percent, down from 8.8 percent a year ago and from 8.2 percent in February. Youngstown’s rate last month was 8.3 percent, down from 10.2 percent in March 2013 and 9.1 percent in February.

Fewer Mahoning and Trumbull county workers were counted as part of March’s civilian workforce – 207,500 – than in March 2013, but still nearly 2,000 more people were employed than a year ago.

The statewide rate also dropped in March to 6.1 percent, down from 6.5 percent in February and down from 7.3 percent in March 2013. The U.S. unemployment rate for March was 6.7 percent, unchanged from February, and down from 7.5 percent in March 2013.