COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- The state says Ohio's unemployment rate held steady in July at 7.2 percent, matching what it was a year ago and remaining slightly higher than earlier in 2013.
Ohio's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has varied only slightly since the beginning of the year. It has hovered below the U.S. unemployment rate, which dropped slightly to 7.4 percent for July.
"One of the reasons for that is that the labor force is growing again, which is a good sign. That was not the case in July - the labor force actually got smaller between June and July," said Ohio Department of Job and Family Services spokesman Ben Johnson.
The labor force is the number of people who are actively seeking work. Johnson says growth in that number indicates that some people who had previously given up looking for a job are searching again.
Ohio had 416,000 unemployed workers last month, up about 3,000 from June. Non-farm wage and salary employment increased 5,300, bringing good news a month after Ohio reported the second-largest job loss for any state in June.
Johnson says the two different surveys they track are going in different directions, but there is one common theme.
"We've been saying for a while that we expect the recovery to be slow and we expect that the recovery will continue to be slow," said Johnson.
The categories that added jobs in July include manufacturing, leisure and hospitality, and trade, transportation and utilities.
Ohio's unemployment rate topped out at 10.6 percent. Johnson says the state has added about 37,000 jobs over the past 12 months.