COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ The state today granted USX Corp. steelworkers unemployment benefits after ruling that their work stoppage is a lockout instead of a strike.

The announcement by the Ohio Bureau of Employment Services brought to three the number of states that have determined the dispute at the biggest U.S. steelmaker is a lockout, thereby entitling workers to jobless benefits.

Minnesota and Pennsylvania had earlier ruled in favor of the workers, while Utah and Illinoi have denied them unemployment benefits. USX also has plants in Alabama, Indiana, Texas and Utah, employing a total of about 22,000 workers.

David Higie, a spokesman for Pittsburgh-based USX, said the company would appeal the Ohio ruling.

The work stoppage began Aug. 1 after contract talks collapsed.