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Ohio Unemployment Falls For Eighth Straight Month

For the first time in eight years, Ohio's unemployment rate is not higher than the national average. New figures out Friday point to what state officials call a steadily-improving economy.

The state Department of Job and Family Services says the unemployment rate fell to 9.8 percent in November. That's down a tenth of a percent from October, and more than a full percent lower than the peak of 11 percent in March.

Especially encouraging was job gains in manufacturing. Ben Johnson with Job and Family Services says manufacturers added 3,100 new jobs in November, and nearly 21,000 over the last year.

"Other sectors that saw positive growth: government was up a little bit, 1,400 new government jobs," Johnson says. "Education and health services: 700 new jobs. Those are largely health care jobs. Health care is one of the few sectors that has weathered the economy relatively well."

Overall, about 9,000 Ohioans returned to the work force in November.

But some sectors remain sluggish: trade, transportation and utilities remained lost about 6,000 jobs, and leisure and hospitality shed about 1,900 positions.