Portage County's jobless rate ticked up for the second month in a row in December, rising two-tenths of a percentage point over November, to 6.2 percent, according to data released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family services. The two months of increase followed three straight months of falling numbers.
Ohio's rate for the last month of 2012 was 6.7 percent, down from 6.8 percent in November. The U.S. rate was unchanged from November at 7.8 percent, and down from 8.5 percent in December 2011.
Ohio's nonfarm wage and salary employment decreased 9,400 over the month from the revised 5,194,400 in November to 5,185,000 in December.
Portage had the 26th lowest jobless rate out of Ohio's 88 counties, down from 20th last month. A year ago, the county's December rate was 7.2 percent.
In December, there were 5,700 people unemployed out of a county workforce of 90,700 according to ODJFS.
During the past recession, the jobless rate in Portage peaked at 11.5 percent in January, 2010. The lowest rate for Portage in the past six years was 4.3 percent in May 2006.
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Unemployment rates in Ohio ranged from a low of 3.9 percent in Mercer County to a high of 12.3 percent in Pike County. Rates increased in 67 of Ohio's 88 counties.
Nine counties had jobless rates at or below 5.5 percent in December and 10 counties had rates about 10 percent.
Rates of five of the six counties contiguous to Portage went up. Only Cuyahoga went down, from 7.0 to 6.6 percent. The others were: Geauga 5.7 (5.5 in Nov.); Mahoning 7.3 (6.9 in Nov.); Stark 6.7 (6.4 in Nov.); Summit 6.2 (6.0 in Nov.).