Medina County’s labor force — the number of people with jobs or looking for work — rose last month for the first time since January.
The county’s labor force totaled 93,600 in April — 200 more than reported in March, according to data released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
Despite the increase, the total number of workers in the county was 5,500 fewer than the high of 99,100 set in July 2008, in the early stages of the recession.
Last month’s total also was 1,200 less than reported a year ago, in April 2011. It was the second straight year-over-year decline and the county’s smallest labor force reported in April since 2005.
The growth of the labor force was more than offset by an employment increase of 500, sending the county’s unemployment rate sliding to 5.9 percent — down from 6.2 percent in March but higher than the 5.6 percent jobless rate posted in April 2011.
Economic experts say the year-over-year comparisons are the most valid because the employment statistics at the county level are not seasonally adjusted.
Ohio’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate last month was 7 percent. The unadjusted rate was 6.7 percent.
The April jobless rates fell in every county in the state, ranging from a low of 4.1 percent in Mercer County to a high of 12.1 percent in Pike County.
Medina’s 5.9 percent rate tied for 12th best among Ohio’s 88 counties.
The unemployment rates in neighboring counties ranged from a high of 7.2 percent in Lorain County to a low of 5.6 percent in Wayne County.
Cuyahoga County posted a 6.8 rate and Summit County, 6.4 percent.
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