Fourth District Employment Conditions
The Fourth District unemployment rate stayed at 5.4 percent in January 2007, the same as in the previous month. Though the rate did not change, the number of unemployed workers crept up slightly (0.57 percent). Because the unemployment rate is the ratio of unemployed workers divided by workers in the labor force, one would expect this outcome if the number of those in the labor force had risen as well. However, the labor force participation rate actually fell slightly (-0.12 percent) in January. What explains this month’s odd outcome is a byproduct of rounding: the changes in the numbers of those in the labor force and those working were relatively small, and after rounding the resulting rate was the same in December and January. Nationally, the unemployment rate rose to 4.6 percent in January, up a bit from 4.4 percent in the previous month.
Most counties in the Fourth District reported unemployment rates above the national average (145 out of 169). Unemployment rates rose in 83 counties since December 2006 but fell in 76 counties and remained the same in 10 counties. In comparison with a year ago at this time, 85 counties now have higher rates of unemployment, 65 have lower rates, and 19 have approximately unchanged rates. Holmes County, Ohio, had the lowest unemployment rate at 3.7 percent; on the opposite end of the field, Jackson County, Kentucky, had the highest rate with 12.7 percent unemployment.
Over the past year, payroll employment levels fell in Cleveland, Dayton, and Toledo, but in Pittsburgh and Lexington, they posted gains of 1 percent or more. Goods-producing industries continued to slow employment growth in the Ohio MSAs. In service-providing industries, on the other hand, employment was either flat or positive. Education and health services registered positive employment growth across the board, while the other service industries had more mixed growth across MSAs. Information and leisure and hospitality grew more than 6 percent in Lexington. The greatest growth in the number of jobs created occurred in Pittsburgh in the education and health services industry, which added 6,100 jobs over the past year.