WARREN - Mahoning Valley January jobless numbers jumped a full point to 8.5 percent from December's 7.5 percent, according to information released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
The large jump wasn't unique to the Youngstown Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Trumbull and Mahoning counties, and also isn't uncommon for January.
In fact, each of the northeastern Ohio counties from Ashtabula to Monroe showed unemployment rate increases of about a point. Still, each remained about 1.5 percentage points below comparable jobless figures from a year ago in January 2013.
A local employment expert, Vic Ing, president of a local recruiting and hiring firm, said some of the January drop may come from building trades workers waylaid by brutal January weather.
Statistics show not only did the number of employed workers drop from December to January, but so, too, did work force numbers for Trumbull and Mahoning counties. That is a count of all civilians age 16 or older who are working or seeking work.
ODJFS figures showed 189,700 people were employed in January in the two-county area, down 3,500 from the 193,200 employed in December. The report lists 207,500 people in the civilian work force in January, down 1,400 from the December work force of 208,900.
Ing cautioned about reading too much into a monthly report, and instead stressed the importance of looking at overall unemployment trends.
"It's sort of like the stock market. You can see a story when you look at the big trends," said Ing, of Alliance Solutions Group of the Mahoning Valley. A chart of labor market trends provided by the Ohio Labor Market Information indicates an ongoing decline in both Ohio and U.S. unemployment numbers after peaking in 2009.
Trumbull County jobless numbers climbed to 8.4 percent in January from 7.5 percent in December. It was 10.1 percent a year ago. Mahoning County jobless was 8.6 percent in January, up from 7.6 in December, but down from 9.8 percent in January 2013.
Warren unemployment numbers for January were 8.9 percent, up from 8.3 percent in December, but down from 10.5 percent in January 2013. Youngstown's January jobless rate was 10.1 percent, also up from 9.1 percent in December, but down compared to 11.7 percent in January 2013.
By comparison, Ohio's jobless rate in January was 6.9 percent, a decline from December's 7.1 percent and 7.3 percent in January 2013. U.S. unemployment was 6.6 percent in January, down from 6.7 percent in December and 7.9 percent in January 2013.