COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio's unemployment rate rose to 7.2 percent in June with a loss of 12,500 jobs — the second largest of any state that month — after the rate had remained at 7 percent for the previous two months.
June's seasonally adjusted rate is the highest since August. The number of unemployed workers in Ohio in June was almost 413,000, up by about 8,000 compared with May.
Data released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor shows that nationwide, unemployment rates increased in 28 states in June, partly because more Americans began searching for work and not all of them got jobs. The government doesn't count people as unemployed unless they are actively looking for work.
Although state officials do not deny Ohio's unemployment rate increase, they point out that the data also shows that more people are confident in the economy and therefore have begun searching for a job.
"When they become more confident that they'll likely get a job, they actually start looking for a job," said Benjamin Johnson, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. "And we know that as the labor force grows, it often results in an increase (in the rate) because not all the people entering the labor force will get a job right away."
Ohio's labor force in June grew by 6,000.
June's unemployment rate is only one-tenth of a percentage point lower compared with the same month in 2012. The state has seen unsteady jobless rates this year, starting with 7 percent in January, rising to 7.1 the following month, and dropping to 7 percent again in April.
Ohio's rate has consistently remained below the nation's, which was 7.6 percent last month. The state's unemployment rate peaked at 10.6 percent during the last half of 2009 and early 2010 before beginning its trek downward.