The Columbus area's strong growth in employment since the recession ended might be showing signs of dimming. The region has lost 8,000 jobs over the past three months, including 6,100 in October, according to data compiled by Bill LaFayette, owner of the economic-consulting firm Regionomics, based on state figures released yesterday.

The Columbus area’s strong growth in employment since the recession ended might be showing signs of dimming.

The region has lost 8,000 jobs over the past three months, including 6,100 in October, according to data compiled by Bill LaFayette, owner of the economic-consulting firm Regionomics, based on state figures released yesterday.

“It’s something we need to keep our eye on,” LaFayette said. “If we continue for even a month or two longer, that’s probably cause for concern.”

The region still posted an unemployment rate of 6.1 percent in October, down from 6.4 percent in September, according to the state figures.

The release of the regional report follows Friday’s statewide statistics showing that Ohio’s unemployment rate rose to 7.5 percent in October, up from 7.4 percent in September and 6.7 percent last December.

The statewide numbers are adjusted to take into account seasonal variations, while the county and metropolitan data released yesterday are not.

The partial shutdown of the federal government delayed the release of the regional unemployment numbers for September and October until yesterday.

Seasonally adjusted, LaFayette’s calculations show the central Ohio region had an unemployment rate of 6.4 percent in October, down from 6.5 percent in September. The rate was 5.7 percent in November 2012.

The unemployment rate fell in October because of a decline of the size of the labor force.

“There is no real growth anywhere,” LaFayette said.

Sectors that had been posting strong results, such as health care and business services, showed job declines in October.

“Certainly part of the reason why the unemployment rate went up locally (compared with a year ago) is that more people are looking for work, and that’s not a bad thing,” he said.

Central Ohio had been hitting record employment levels as recently as this summer. No other Ohio metro area has recovered all of the jobs it lost from the recession.

Yesterday’s state report showed a drop in the October unemployment rates from September in most of the state’s metro areas and in 74 of the 88 counties. But compared with a year ago, the rates of all the metro areas are higher and the unemployment rates for the counties, with a few exceptions, are higher than a year ago.

“Certainly, the local area, assuming all things being equal, will follow the state,” said Benjamin Johnson, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Some metros are reporting labor forces that have stabilized or even gone up some in the past year, he said. That’s in contrast to the steady decline in many areas since the recession.

“Again, we’re in the place where the recovery has been slow,” he said.

Delaware and Union counties were two of six counties in the state with an unemployment rate below 5.5 percent. Both had unemployment rates of 5.2 percent in October.

The jobless rate for Columbus and Franklin County was 6.2 percent.

Mercer County in northwestern Ohio had the lowest rate in the state, at 4.3 percent, and Meigs County in the southeastern part of the state had the highest, at 12 percent.

mawilliams@dispatch.com