Fourth District Employment Conditions
The Fourth District’s unemployment rate dropped considerably in February 2007 to 5.0 percent. The drop of 0.4 percentage points, the largest since January 2006, was largely the result of a decrease in the number of unemployed persons (–7.07 percent): Employment was up slightly (0.07 percent) and the labor force decreased a bit (–0.36 percent). The decrease in the number of unemployed persons came from Ohio and Pennsylvania , whereas Kentucky and West Virginia had a small increase. Ohio ’s number of unemployed people dropped –8.1 percent,† and the number in the Fourth District’s component of Pennsylvania fell –14.17 percent. Even though the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent in February, the Fourth District’s unemployment rate fell more; the difference between the two is the smallest since May 2004.
NOTE: † There may be a difference between this figure and the reported numbers of unemployed people in Ohio because of aggregation methods and seasonal adjustment procedures.
Not surprisingly, unemployment rates fell significantly from January levels in counties across the Fourth District, with declines in 106 counties, increases in 58 counties, and no change in 5 counties. Compared to February 2006, the unemployment rates are improved even more: The median unemployment rate in the District’s 169 counties in February 2006 was 5.8% versus 5.5% in February 2007. Also against a year earlier, unemployment rates fell in123 counties, rose in 36, and stayed the same in 10. Mercer County , Ohio had the lowest unemployment rate (3.4%), whereas Jackson County, Kentucky had the highest rate (2.7%).
Year-over-year total nonfarm employment growth was slow but positive in the U.S. and most Fourth District MSAs. Service-providing industries had strictly positive employment growth from February 2006 to February 2007. Government was the strongest service industry for employment growth, whereas the trade, transportation, and utilities industry, and the natural resources, mining, and construction industry were the only broadly negative ones. The largest increase in the number of employees occurred in the government sector, with Cleveland adding 3,300 net employees and Cincinnati 3,100.