COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio's unemployment rate fell slightly to 7 percent in April after being stuck at 7.1 percent the two previous months, according to state data released Friday.
The mostly static seasonally adjusted rate so far this year followed months of incremental decreases, according to numbers from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. But Ohio's jobless rate still has remained below the national rate, which was 7.5 percent in April and 7.6 percent in March.
In April 2012, the Ohio jobless rate was 7.4 percent.
Ohio leaders have said repeatedly that the state's economy and its job market are getting stronger, but the process will be slow.
Ohio's unemployment rate peaked at 10.6 percent during the last half of 2009 and early 2010 before beginning its trek downward. January marked the first time the rate failed to decline or at least remain steady since July 2011.
The U.S. Department of Labor reported payrolls expanded by 165,000 jobs nationally in April, and the 7.5 percent unemployment rate was a four-year low. However, analysts say the numbers don't show explosive job growth by any measure.
State officials reported that the number of nonagricultural jobs in Ohio increased 7,600 in April, to 5,183,000, according to the latest business establishment survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor, in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
The number of unemployed workers in Ohio in April was 400,000. That was down from 407,000 in March. The number of unemployed in the state has decreased 21,000 in the past year.
Goods-producing industries in Ohio gained 800 jobs in April. The 2,400 increase in manufacturing jobs offset job losses totaling 1,600 in construction and mining and logging.
Private service-providing industries gained 7,400 jobs. Employment was up by 5,300 jobs in leisure and hospitality, along with gains in trade, transportation and utilities, and educational and health services.
Job losses were seen in professional and business services, financial activities and information. Government employment was 746,000 for the month, down by 600 jobs. Losses in federal government employment outpaced gains in state government.