Putnam County finally has something to be thankful for on the unemployment front.
After being ranked among the 10 worst county jobless rates as recently as August, the Putnam unemployment picture has improved enough to put the local ranking in a tie for 50th, at least close to the middle of the pack among Indiana's 92 counties.
The latest figures, released this week by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, show an 8.8 percent October unemployment rate for Putnam County, tying it with Fulton and Ripley counties for 50th best.
The improved rate also puts Putnam County right smack in the middle of its contiguous counties with three faring better and three doing worse.
The October local ranking is better than Owen, at 9.1 percent for 56th place, and both Parke and Clay counties, tied for 66th at 9.5 percent.
Ranking better than Putnam for October were neighboring Hendricks, at 7.2 percent in 13th place; Morgan, at 8.3 percent, tied for 42nd overall; and Montgomery, at 8.6 percent in 48th position.
The state's best jobless rate again belongs to Dubois County at 6.0 percent, followed by Daviess at 6.1, Hamilton at 6.2, Switzerland and Knox at 6.4 and Warrick at 6.6, rounding out the top five.
Also in the top 10 for October are Monroe (6.7), Warren, Posey and Carroll (all 6.9) and Boone (7.0).
On the bottom again is Fayette County at 12.3, followed by Elkhart (11.3), Blackford and Miami (both 11.0), Vermillion (10.9), Henry, Lawrence and Scott (10.8), Wayne (10.6) and Jennings (10.5).
Four other Indiana counties also experienced double-digit unemployment for the period -- Starke (10.3), Grant (10.2), LaPorte and Noble (both 10.0).
However, more Hoosiers are rejoining the labor force, and the preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate moved slightly from 8.9 percent to 9.0 percent in October.
The U.S. rate declined from 9.1 percent to 9.0 percent this month. Indiana's unemployment rate is equal to or lower than all of our neighboring states for the ninth month in a row.
Ohio equaled Indiana in posting a 9.0 percent rate for October, while Kentucky was at 9.6 percent, Illinois slipped to 10.0 percent, and Michigan saw a 10.6 percent jobless rate.
Indiana's labor force has increased by 36,000 in the last three months, the largest three-month increase since late 1993.