WARREN - Jobless rates in Mahoning County dropped last month to their lowest point since 2008, according to numbers released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
According to the figures, which are not seasonally adjusted, Mahoning County rates hit 6.9 percent. The last time unemployment numbers were below 7.0 in Mahoning County was June 2008.
Neighboring Trumbull County reported 7.9 percent unemployment in September. Trumbull figures had dipped below 7.9 percent earlier this year, but prior to that had not been below 8 percent since 2008.
While Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber President and CEO Tom Humphries said he was pleased with the numbers, he cautioned that September jobless numbers generally drop due to workers in the education field heading back to work after summer break. Despite the percentage drop, the number of workers in the Youngstown-Warren-Boardman Metropolitan Statistical Area actually decreased about 1,300 from August.
''Every year it goes down in September (from August). It really goes down because people go back to work in the schools. It follows a trend," Humphries explained. ''But year over year we are still seeing improvement.''
By comparison, Trumbull County's 7.9 percent is down almost a full point from September 2011.
Reported jobless rates for September:
In Mahoning County, 6.9 percent is down from the year-ago figure when 8.8 percent of the Mahoning civilian work force was out of work.
Humphries said he remains optimistic that the trend of improved jobless rates will continue.
''I think we are going to finish the year well,'' he said, noting that seasonal retail jobs will keep jobless numbers down over the holidays, followed by increases in natural gas and oil drilling jobs early next year.
''I am optimistic," Humphries said. ''Our manufacturing is slowly coming around.''
Among specific Ohio cities, Warren's unemployment rate was reported at 9.3 percent. Unemployment in August was reported at 9.6 percent, and in September 2011, it was reported at 10.3 percent. The work force is listed as 17,800, with 16,100 employed.
Youngstown's unemployment number hit 8.9 percent, down a half-point from August, and down almost three points from 11.7 percent a year ago. The county and city rates are not seasonally adjusted.
According to seasonally adjusted rates, Ohio's unemployment was 7.0 percent in September, down from 7.2 percent in August. Ohio's nonfarm wage and salary employment decreased 12,800 over the month from the revised 5,190,000 in August to 5,177,200 in September.
The number of workers unemployed in Ohio in September was 406,000, down from 413,000 in August. The number of unemployed has decreased by 91,000 in the past 12 months from 497,000. The September unemployment rate for Ohio was down from 8.6 percent in September 2011.
The U.S. unemployment rate for September was 7.8 percent, down from 8.1 percent in August, and down from 9.0 percent in September 2011.
Neighboring Geauga County was among the state's lowest rates at 5.2 percent and Portage County reported 5.9 percent, not seasonally adjusted, in September.