By Nick Dutro
Despite the jobless rate increasing in December, the average unemployment rate in Seneca County is at a four-year low.
According to information released Wednesday by the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, the unemployment rate for the county was 6.7 percent in December, an increase following a steady 6.5 percent rate in November and October.
The county civilian labor force - the estimate of all people working or seeking work - decreased from 28,000 in November to 27,800 in December and 300 fewer people were employed in December than in November, at 25,900.
The unemployment rate decreased by almost 2 percent from December 2011, which was 8.6 percent.
For the year as a whole, 2012 had an average unemployment rate of 7.6 percent, the lowest average since a 7 percent rate in 2008. The civilian labor force estimate average for 2008 was 30,300, with 28,100 people employed on average, compared to 28,300 people working or seeking work in 2012 on average and 26,100 people employed on average.
Overall, the employment rate decreased for most of 2012 beginning with a high of 9.8 percent in January and a low of 6.4 percent in September, the lowest rate since May 2008.
Seneca County's jobless rate in December was the same as Ohio's seasonally adjusted rate of 6.7 percent.
Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.8 percent.
Most neighboring counties also experienced increases in unemployment, with the exception of Hancock County, which had the lowest rate of 5.2 percent, the same as November 2012.
Ottawa County had the highest unemployment at 10.9 percent, an increase from 9.5 percent in November.
All surrounding counties also reported a decrease from December 2011.