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Ohio Officials Expect Higher Unemployment

At 8.8 percent, Ohio's unemployment rate is already higher than the national average and the signs of things worsening keep coming. Today ArcelorMittal, the European steel-maker, announced that it's closing its mill in Cleveland until business conditions improve. The union at the mill says up to 800 workers are being laid off but the company wouldn't confirm the exact number.

And this morning on 90.3's the Sound of Ideas, Ohio's Deputy Director of Unemployment Compensation, Judy Cicatiello, said the next batch of statistics will be ugly.

Cicatiello: "The 8.8 percent rate was pretty staggering. And I've got to tell you, our February numbers are looking pretty grim. We made over 91,000 more payments than we made in January. We're seeing 161 percent over last year at the same time - which we all know - we were in a recession then."

Kent State economist Lock Reynolds says multiple factors are at play.

Reynolds: "That sort of credit crisis or banking sector aspect to this has made everything worse - and is why a lot of economists are saying this is not a typical garden variety recession and is likely to be longer and more painful than usual."

Caitlin Johnson 90.3