Medina County got a lackluster grade in the state’s monthly jobs report.
The county’s unemployment rate was 5.5 percent in May — unchanged from April but higher than the state average of 5.3 percent.
The jobless rate improved in 55 of the state’s 88 counties last month, according to a report released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
Mercer County, in western Ohio, had the lowest rate — 3.0 percent. Monroe County, along Ohio’s southeast border was highest, with 10.8 percent.
Medina County’s rate tied with Montgomery and Hocking counties for 36th worst.
Among Medina’s five neighboring counties, the jobless rates improved in Lorain (6.6 percent, down from 6.7 percent in April), Ashland (4.9 percent, down from 5.4 percent) and Summit (5.0 percent, down from 5.1 percent).
The rate worsened in Cuyahoga (7.1 percent, up from 6.7 percent) and remained the same in Wayne (4.2 percent).
The report found Medina County’s civilian labor force, the total number of residents with jobs or looking for work, was 94,300 in May, unchanged from April.
Most counties reported increases in their labor forces, as spring weather fuels more economic activity.
Overall, Ohio added 33,000 workers to the statewide labor force last month.
Medina County’s May labor force total also was 800 fewer than reported in May 2013 and 2,900 less than the record for that month of 97,200 workers set in 2008.
The year-over-year comparison is considered more significant because — unlike the national, state and metropolitan employment statistics — county figures are not adjusted for seasonal factors, such as the decline in construction work with the onset of winter and layoff of retail workers after the holiday shopping season.
Mead Wilkins, director of the Medina County Department of Job and Family Services, said the failure of the county’s labor force to resume growing following the Great Recession is an indication that many workers have given up looking for jobs.
“It’s simply people are just giving up,” he said. “They just can’t get meaningful employment.”
Contact reporter David Knox at (330) 721-4065 or firstname.lastname@example.org.