COLUMBUS, Ohio — State officials say Ohio’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.5 percent in February, the lowest rate since 2001, but remained higher than the national rate.

The state unemployment rate decreased from 4.7 percent in January and was lower than the 5.1 percent rate of February 2017.

The national rate was 4.1 percent in February, unchanged from January, and down from 4.7 percent in January 2017.

The state’s Job and Family Services Department says Ohio’s nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased by 13,400 jobs in February.

Ohio reported job gains in sectors including educational and health services; leisure and hospitality; financial activities; other services; and trade transportation and utilities. Those gains exceeded losses in professional and business services and information.

Government employment in Ohio decreased by 300 jobs in February.

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