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MITCH STACY

Associated Press

COLUMBUS — Ohio’s unemployment rate continued its slow downward march in November, state officials reported Friday.

The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services said the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for November was 6.8 percent — down slightly from 6.9 percent in October and 7.1 percent in September.

It’s the lowest since an identical 6.8-percent rate in August 2008, and it’s down more than a full percentage point from November 2011, when it stood at 8.1 percent.

Ohio’s unemployment rate has remained below the national rate, which was 7.7 percent in November and 7.9 percent the previous month.

“Our outlook hasn’t changed at all,” said Angela Terez, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services. “We still think we’re in a recovery, it’s just a slow recovery. We expect there to be small increases and decreases.”

The number of unemployed Ohio workers dropped by 5,000 to 391,000 last month. Meanwhile, the state’s non-farm payroll increased by 1,600.

Ohio gained about 3,700 jobs in goods-producing industries in November, and manufacturing added 4,700. Construction lost 1,000 jobs, and mining and logging remained unchanged from the previous month.

The agency said Ohio gained 100,400 non-farm jobs between November 2011 and the end of last month. A total of 132,000 have been added since the beginning of 2011.

“The number of unemployed came down in November, but it’s still high,” Terez said. “It’s headed in the right direction, but that’s still a high number. We think this is another sign that we’re in recovery, even though it’s taken time and it’s kind of a bumpy recovery.”

The fact that many Ohioans are still struggling financially was underscored by Gov. John Kasich’s announcement this week that he’s sending another $1 million in state money to Ohio food banks to meet the growing need.

It’s the second year in a row that Kasich authorized an additional appropriation for the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. The money from the state’s Temporary Assistance to Needy Families fund will benefit more than 3,300 pantries, soup kitchens and shelters.

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