COLUMBUS — Ohio’s unemployment rate dropped again in May and is at its lowest level since before the Great Recession, the state reported Friday.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said the seasonally adjusted rate in May was 5.5 percent, down from 5.7 percent in March and 6.1 percent in April.
It’s the state’s lowest jobless rate in seven years, matching the rate for April 2007.
The report found 11,000 fewer unemployed Ohioans last month.
But a portion of that drop was the result of a 14,000 decline in the state’s labor force — the total number of residents working or looking for jobs.
Experts say a decline in the labor force can be caused by discouraged workers who are not counted as unemployed because they gave given up looking for a job.
Ohio’s rate remains below the national rate, which was 6.3 percent in April and May.
The report found the number of nonfarm jobs in the state increased to 5,298,300 in May, up 2,900 from the revised April total of 5,295,400 when adjusted for seasonal employment swings.
May was the 44th consecutive month of job growth in Ohio. But the rate of growth has been slower lately than many other states. A year-over-year comparison using seasonally unadjusted numbers shows Ohio’s rate of job creation has lagged behind the national average for 19 months in a row.
While employment in goods-producing and construction was down last month, gains were seen in manufacturing, mining and logging and the private service-producing sector.
Gains were logged in professional and business services (up 6,000), trade, transportation and utilities (up 1,300), financial activities (up 400) and information (up 200). Declines were seen in leisure and hospitality (down 4,300) and educational and health services (down 900).
Government employment lost 100 jobs, to 754,400. Losses in local and federal government surpassed gains in state government jobs.