Seneca jobless rate down in March

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On an annual basis, the last time the unemployment rate fell below 4% was 2001 when it was 3.6%, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

The rate in March was the same as in March 2016.

Whereas the county had a 7.8 percent unemployment rate in March 2016, it now has an estimated 5.4 percent joblessness rate.

While the jobless gauge is is known for barely changing with economic cycles, and statistics officials are working on a newer and more accurate survey-based version, the decline in unemployment coincides with economic growth posting the first back-to-back quarterly acceleration in two years. A total of 287 people was looking for work in March, down 21.4 percent from February (down 27.9 percent since March 2016). In March of past year, the county had an unemployment rate of 5.2 percent. This placed Gallia 20th out of 88 counties, in terms of unemployment. "March estimates do not show significant changes in employment or unemployment compared to previous year".

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From March 2016 to March 2017, nonagricultural wage and salary employment grew 36,500. Employment losses in trade, transportation, and utilities (-6,000), professional and business services (-3,800), leisure and hospitality (-2,800), and financial activities (-700) surpassed gains in educational and health services (+6,300), information (+900), and other services (+900). Meanwhile, the number of employed dropped from 99,000 to 97,800.

Private sector employment has grown by more than 39,300 over the year, while weekly unemployment insurance claims remain at the lowest point in three decades.

In the MSA, Vermillion County ranks the highest and tops the entire state, ranking No. 1 with 5.9 percent March unemployment rate.

Yakima County's rate, however, is higher than the state rate of 4.9 percent. The city's March 2016 unemployment rate was 5.2 percent, and in March 2017, the city had a rate of 4.3 percent.