WARREN - Local jobless figures released Tuesday showed continued improvement over last year at this time and beat the national average for the fifth straight month.
Officials with the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber pointed out that monthly jobless rates in the Youngstown-Warren market have beaten the national average only 15 times since 1983. Eleven of those instances have occurring since August 2011.
Jobless rate for the overall Youngstown-Warren Metropolitan Statistical Area is listed at 7.7 percent for December. The unadjusted national average for December is 7.8 percent.
According to figures released by the state Department of Job and Family Services, Trumbull County posted 8 percent unemployment in December, compared to 8.7 percent a year ago. Mahoning County posted a 7.3 percent unemployment rate last month, compared to 8.4 percent in December 2011.
However, unemployment rates in both counties increased when compared to the prior month. Trumbull reported only 7.7 percent unemployment and Mahoning County reported 6.9 percent unemployment in November, with the size of the December civilian work force dropping slightly.
"While we are disappointed in this month's unemployment rate increase, if you look at the bigger picture, we're better off than we were a year ago," said Tom Humphries, president and CEO of the Regional Chamber.
Humphries noted a December increase in the jobless rate is something that happens every year.
A look at the jobless numbers for the two major metropolitan areas also showed significant improvement over numbers reported a year ago. Warren held pat at 9 percent unemployment, the same number reported in November. The city reported 9.9 percent unemployment in December 2011.
Youngstown also posted a 9 percent unemployment rate for December 2012, down more than a full point from the December 2011 jobless rate of 10.4 percent. November's rate for Youngstown was lower, though, at 8.6 percent.
The number of jobs in the Youngstown-Warren metropolitan statistical area dropped by 1,900 in December compared to November 2012. However, the metro area showed a job gain of 2,500 from December 2011 to December 2012.
Likewise, employment decreased by 2,900 last month compared to November, but overall employment increased 2,200 from December 2011 to December 2012.
In the down month, trade, transportation and utilities actually showed a 600-job increase from November to December and was up 2,600 jobs from December 2011, according to the chamber's numbers.
Other sectors showing year-to-year job increases were manufacturing, up 800 jobs; financial activities, up 200 jobs; education and health services, up 800 jobs; leisure and hospitality, up 200 jobs; and other services, up 100 jobs.