VAN WERT — The economic situation in Van Wert County could be getting some more good news next week when the county unemployment reports are issued for the 88 Ohio counties. The statewide rate for January was released on Friday showing a drop in the jobless rate from 7.1 percent in December to 6.9 percent in the first month of 2014.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) reported an increase of 16,700 for the month and a decrease in the number of unemployed workers by 16,000 — a net gain of 700. Ohio’s nonfarm wage and salary employment hit 5,285,600.

In the past 12 months, the number of unemployed Ohioans has dropped by 26,000 and the jobless rate has fallen 0.4 percent.

All this appears to be good news for Van Wert County residents. In December the county’s unemployment rate took a big drop to 6.1 percent from November’s 6.8 percent. If the county is part of the trend of falling rates, Van Wert County may see a jobless figure under 6.0 percent since March 2008.

Manufacturing jobs were up by 2,400 in January, but the big job gains were the 8,000 new positions in construction. Other increases were in professional and business services (5,900), leisure and hospitality (3,400), and financial activities (1,100). Offsetting some of those gains were losses in professional and business services (-5,900), and information (-1,000).

Over the course of the 12 months from January 2013 to January 2014, employment was up by 67,000 with 8,700 new manufacturing jobs, 25,600 additional in Professional and business services, 10.700 more in educational and health services, and 9,500 more in leisure and hospitality.

Declines over the year were seen in information (2,000) and government (-3,700).

The U.S. unemployment rate for January was 6.6 percent, down from 6.7 percent in December and from 7.9 percent in January 2013.