The Putnam County jobless picture has seen more ups and downs than the stock market in recent months.
After posting slightly improving numbers for March, April and May -- and then experiencing a minimal misstep backward for June -- the local unemployment figure tumbled into double-digit despair for July.
In the latest unemployment figures, released Friday by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, the Putnam unemployment figure for July was listed as 10.5 percent. That marks the first time since March that the figure was in double digits.
That July rate is good for -- or at least bad enough for -- a tie for sixth worst (or 86th best) among Indiana's 92 counties.
Only Fayette (12.0 percent), Lawrence, Elkhart, Grant and Henry counties (all 10.6 percent) recorded worse jobless numbers than Putnam for July 2011.
Following a startling 12.3 percent jobless figure in February, Putnam County unemployment numbers had inched their way forward at 11.2 for March, 9.5 in April and 8.8 for May before slipping to 9.5 percent for June.
As was also the case for June, Putnam again uncharacteristically lagged behind all six contiguous counties.
Among neighboring areas, Hendricks continues to rank the best (ninth overall) at 6.9 percent for June. Morgan County was at 7.9 percent, good for 29th overall, while Montgomery was 48th overall at 8.6 percent.
Parke County was tied for 54th at 8.8 percent, while Owen slipped to a tie for 64th at 9.5 percent in July figures. Clay was tied for 70th best at 9.8 percent.
The state's best jobless rate again belongs to Dubois County at 5.6 percent, while the worst unemployment figure was again posted by Fayette County at 12.0 percent for July.
Like other neighboring states, Indiana saw an uptick in its unemployment rate in July. The preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate went from 8.3 to 8.5 percent in July.
The U.S. rate declined to 9.1 percent this month. Indiana continues to be significantly below the national average and that of all neighboring states for the sixth month in a row.
"In comparison to our neighbors, Indiana is the only state below 9 percent," said Mark W. Everson, commissioner of the Department of Workforce Development. "In terms of jobs, the bright spot for the month was an increase in manufacturing, but we saw a tightening across other sectors."
Ohio posted a 9.0 percent rate for July, while both Illinois and Kentucky were at 9.5 percent and Michigan had a 10.9 percent jobless rate.