WHEELING - WorkForce West Virginia's July 2011 unemployment rate data shows that while the overall state jobless rates improved, much of the Northern Panhandle remains in "worse than average" condition.
In June, the organization tallied a 8.6 percent rate for the entire state, which dropped to 7.4 percent at the end of July.
The lowest jobless rate for a local county was the 7.7 number recorder in Ohio County. This statistic went up almost a full point, as 8.6 percent of county job seekers were unsuccessful last month.
Even though Brooke, Hancock, Marshall, Tyler and Wetzel counties are still bracketed as "worse than average" by WorkForce West Virginia, unemployment rates in each county did improve, with most of them dropping by nearly 1 percent or more in each.
The changed unemployment rates by county are as follows:
Brooke: 10.6 percent in July from 11.5 percent in June.
Hancock: 11 percent in July from 11.8 percent in June.
Marshall: 9 percent in July from 9.8 percent in June.
Tyler: 9.8 percent in July from 11 percent in June.
Wetzel: 10.9 percent in July from 12.6 percent in June.
Although still showing relatively high unemployment rates, Brooke and Hancock counties had the largest one-year improvement.
Brooke moved down from 13.6 percent at this time last year and Hancock from 14.4 percent in 2010.
Joe Jarvis, a manager with WorkForce, said there has been growth in the private sector that affected the July survey numbers, driving the 7.4 percent result.
He said, however, the 8.1 percent could be a better reflection of working and non-working people.
"The numbers are based solely on survey," Jarvis said.
"It could be people waiting for a better opportunity but not looking ... or it may be early, but could be students heading back to school," Jarvis added.
He also said in-state residents taking out-of-state jobs also has an effect on survey numbers.
Jarvis added residents should not anticipate a consistent fall in unemployment after seeing such an unemployment drop.