Ohio unemployment rate drops to 7.7 percent

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COLUMBUS (AP) -- Ohio's unemployment rate went down for the third month in a row in January thanks to continued strength in the state's health care sector.

Joblessness fell to 7.7 percent in January, down from an adjusted 7.9 percent in December, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said today.

Payrolls outside of farms rose 32,800 over the last month, the state said.

The positive news comes amid a less encouraging trend that finds the state's overall payroll shrinking, from approximately 458,000 people in December to 447,000 in January.

Family services spokesman Ben Johnson says the labor market shrinkage includes people who took themselves out of the workforce and adjustments based on recent revised Census figures.

The leisure and hospitality industries added 6,800 positions while education and health services added 6,000.

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