LISBON - Columbiana County's unemployment rate dropped significantly in March, the fourth decline in the past five months.
The estimated unemployment rate for the county was 9.1 percent last month, according to figures released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, down from 9.9 percent in February.
Meanwhile, the state unemployment rate continued to decline, dropping to 7.5 percent in March from 7.6 percent in February. The national jobless rate also dropped slightly, to 8.2 percent from 8.3 percent last month.
Despite the drop in the jobless rate, the state estimated 4,600 county residents were still unemployed last month, an increase of 200 from February. This is based on a county labor force of 50,800, which is 600 more than listed for February.
The number of people receiving unemployment benefits for the first
time in March was 177 compared to 198 first-time recipients in February, while 44 county residents exhausted benefits in March. Approximately 3,717 residents continued to receive benefits, about 160 less than February, with the average weekly benefit being $302.
The county's March unemployment rate ranked 29th among Ohio's 88 counties, up one position from the month before. Compared to adjoining Ohio counties, the county's jobless rate remained lower than Jefferson (10.1 percent) but higher than Mahoning (8.8 percent), Carroll (8.5 percent) and Stark (8.3 percent).
The highest March unemployment rate in Ohio was 14.7 percent in Pike County, while Mercer County continued to have the lowest jobless rate at 4.9 percent.