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Unemployment rates fall in much of region

Jun. 22, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- The regional and local unemployment picture improved in May, with West Virginia showing one of the largest drops in the country and area counties all in single digits for the first time in several years.

Unemployment rates fell in half of U.S. states, rose in 17 states and were unchanged in eight.

Hiring has been steady nationwide, leading to a better job market in many areas of the country. Employers added jobs in 33 states last month. The biggest gains were in Ohio, Texas and Michigan.

California and West Virginia had the largest declines in unemployment among all states. In California, the rate dropped to 8.6 percent from 9 percent in April. West Virginia's rate fell to 6.2 percent from 6.6 percent.

Both states reported job gains.

Ohio's unemployment rate remained a 7 percent in May, well below the national average of 7.5 percent. Goods-producing industries gained 4,700 jobs in May. Increases were recorded in construction and manufacturing, while employment in mining and logging was unchanged. Private service-providing industries gained 20,200 jobs.

Kentucky's rate rose slightly from 7.9 percent in April to 8.1 percent in May, still down from the 8.3 percent recorded in May 2012.

In Cabell County, the rate for May was 5.6 percent, down from 6.0 percent in April and 6.8 percent in May 2012. The rate also fell in Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, McDowell, Mason, Putnam and Wayne countines, with the lowest rate in Putnam at 4.7 percent and the highest in Mason at 9 percent. But Mason's rate reflects dramatic improvement from 2012 when it was 11.2 percent and the 13-15 percent rates the county experienced in 2010 and 2011.

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