Ohio officials say the state's unemployment rate dropped slightly in January to 6.9 percent.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said Friday that the seasonally adjusted rate in December was 7.1 percent, which was down from 7.2 percent in November.
The state's rate has been running slightly higher than the national rate, which was 6.6 percent in January.
The number of unemployed Ohio workers was 416,000 in December, or 11,000 fewer than in the previous month.
Meanwhile, on a national level, the Labor Department said Friday that employers added 175,000 jobs, up from 129,000 in January. The unemployment rate rose to 6.7 percent from a five-year low of 6.6 percent as more Americans began seeking jobs but many didn't find them. That's still an encouraging sign because more job hunters suggest that people were more optimistic about their prospects.
Friday's figures were a welcome surprise after recent reports showed that harsh weather had closed factories, lowered auto sales and slowed home sales. Along with an increase in wages last month, the report suggests that some employers are confident that consumer spending will pick up in coming months.