Summit County's jobless rate fell to 6.6 percent in May, down from 7.1 percent in April and 8.3 percent a year ago. That is the lowest unemployment rate for the county since November 2008, when the rate was 6.5 percent.

Unemployment rates were also down in Akron and Cuyahoga Falls, according to figures released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services.

The figures don't surprise Tom Doll, whose employment agency, Superior Staffing Inc. of Akron, is seeing a sizeable uptick in business.

"Our employment level - meaning the number of temporary workers working for clients - that number is up 20 to 30 percent over any time period in the last 3 1/2 years," Doll said.

"Things started to go south in 2008," said Doll, co-owner and president of the employment service. "We're now back to the employment level we were at in the fall of 2008."

"For a local family business those were some trying times," Doll said.

Unemployment rates declined in 84 of Ohio's 88 counties last month, according to state figures released Tuesday.

The city of Akron had an unemployment rate of 7.6 percent in May, down from 8.0 percent in April and 9.2 percent in May 2011.

The jobless rate in Cuyahoga Falls was 6.3 percent in May, down from 6.7 percent in April and 7.5 percent a year ago.

There were 261,500 people counted as working in Summit County in May and 18,600 counted as unemployed. In May of 2011, when the jobless rate was 8.3 percent, the state counted 260,000 people at work in Summit and 23,500 unemployed.

Count Felicia Manson, 27, as unimpressed with the decline in Summit County's unemployment rate.

The Fairlawn resident lost her job making packaging earlier this year; the Twinsburg plant where she worked is being shut down in phases and is slated to close this fall.

She said she's having a tough time finding work. "It's getting to the point where I'm even thinking about moving out of state,'' she said.

She's working on a two-year degree in surgical technology at the University of Akron, but still isn't optimistic.

"It just seems like once you finish school and get your degree, it's still going to be hard to get a job here," she said.

Since 2001, the lowest unemployment rate for the month of May was 3.9 percent in 2001; 268,200 people were working and 10,800 were unemployed. The highest rate was 9.8 percent in May of 2010, when 258,600 people were working and 28,300 people were counted as unemployed.

The unemployment rate does not count people who are unemployed and who have stopped looking for work or who are working part-time but want full-time work.

The county and city rates are not adjusted to take into account seasonal factors.

Ohio had a comparable unemployment rate of 6.9 percent in May; the seasonally adjusted rate was 7.3 percent. The U.S. seasonally adjusted rate was 8.2 percent.

Elsewhere in Northeast Ohio, Cuyahoga County's jobless rate increased slightly from 7.0 percent in April to 7.1 percent in May; the rate was 8.0 percent a year ago.

Cleveland had a jobless rate of 9.3 percent last month, up from 9.1 percent in April and down from 10.2 percent in May 2011.

Medina County had a 5.6 percent unemployment rate last month, unchanged from 5.6 percent in April and down from 6.7 percent a year ago.

Portage County's jobless rate fell to 6.3 percent last month from 6.9 percent in April. It was 7.9 percent in May 2011.

Stark County had an unemployment rate of 7.1 percent in May, down from 7.7 percent in April and 9.1 percent a year ago. Canton's jobless rate fell to 8.8 percent in May from 9.5 percent in April; the rate was 10.7 percent a year ago.

Wayne County's jobless rate fell to 6 percent in May from 6.4 percent in April. It was 7.6 percent in May 2011.

Article by:
Katie Byard, Beacon Journal Business Writer
June 20, 2012