Ohio Unemployment Rate Drops Again, Labor Secretary Says State Is Recovering

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U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez says Ohio's economy is recovering as the national economic picture improves.

"I'm very bullish on the future of America and very bullish on the future of Ohio," said Perez.  "I've spent a lot of time in Ohio.  You look at the manufacturing sector.  Whoever said manufacturing is dead in America hasn't looked at Ohio, hasn't looked at the auto industry.  Last year auto sales were the highest since 2007."

Numbers released Friday show Ohio's unemployment rate in December dropping to 7.2 percent from 7.4 percent in November.

“The average manufacturing worker is working over 40 hours a week," Perez told 10TV.  "That tells me that businesses are humming.  I've spoken to business owners, not only in manufacturing sectors but elsewhere and they tell me repeatedly and regularly that they're bullish about the future."

Ohio's jobless rate remains higher than it was a year ago, and it remains above the national average.

Perez says the national economy is recovering but is not yet out of the woods.

He says long-term unemployment remains at 3.9 million Americans.

Perez is pushing Congress to extend the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.  He says Congress started the program when George W. Bush was president and the national unemployment rate was 5.6 percent.