Putnam County has posted major improvement on the unemployment front as the Indiana Department of Workforce Development released its latest jobless figures.
Preliminary figures for August show the latest local jobless rate at 7.9 percent, tied for 43rd best among Indiana's 92 counties, and slightly better than Indiana's overall 8.3 percent figure for August.
That means Putnam County is back in the top half of the state's unemployment rates after months of languishing near the bottom.
For example, the July 2012 local jobless rate was 72nd best (or 21st worst) at 9.5 percent.
The new 7.9 percent figure for August is also better than all surrounding counties, with the exception of Hendricks, which perpetually ranks in the top 10. And that is no different this month with Hendricks at 6.5 percent, good for seventh overall.
Among other neighboring counties, Morgan was next at 7.5 percent for 37th place as the only other neighbor in the top half of the rankings.
Montgomery was at 8.2 percent for 54th overall in August, while Owen County dropped to 8.8 percent for 65th overall. Parke County, meanwhile, tied for 70th with a 9.2 percent jobless figure.
Just outside the bottom 10 again for August was Clay County at 9.7 percent, tied for 11th worst for the second straight month.
The state's best jobless rate still belongs to Dubois County at 5.3 percent, followed by Hamilton at 5.8 percent, Daviess and Barthol-omew at 6.0, Martin at 6.2, Boone at 6.3, Hendricks at 6.5, Warrick, Warren and Switzerland, all at 6.6 to round out the top 10.
On the bottom for August was Sullivan County at 11.3 percent, followed by Fayette (10.7), Wayne (10.2), Lawrence (10.1), Blackford and Vermilion (10.0), and Grant, Miami, Newton and Vigo (all 9.8) completing the bottom 10.
The numbers indicate Hoosier employers continued to augment their workforces for the 10th consecutive month and as a result, Indiana gained 7,200 private sector jobs.
The rate of job growth in Indiana for August tripled the national average (0.3 percent versus 0.1 percent).
Since July 2009, the low point of employment, Indiana has added more than 150,000 private sector jobs and continues to significantly outpace the national rate of growth during this period (6.5 percent versus 3.5 percent). The most significant gains in August came from Private Educational and Health Services (5,200 jobs added) and Construction (2,200 jobs added).
For August, Indiana (at 8.3 percent) fared better than all neighboring counties except Ohio (7.2). Kentucky was at 8.5, Illinois at 9.1 and Michigan at 9.4.