A month after nearly wedging its way into the top third of the state, the Putnam County jobless rate suffered a slight setback when October unemployment figures were announced this week.
After posting progressively better figures each of the two previous months, Putnam County slipped to a 7.1 percent jobless rate for October to rank in a tie for 40th in the state, according to the latest Indiana Department of Workforce Development monthly report.
The latest local rate was a slight rise from the 7.0 percent for September that had positioned the Putnam figure to 34th best among Indiana's 92 counties.
Meanwhile, the latest figure keeps Putnam County in the top half of the state's unemployment rankings for a third straight reporting period after months of languishing near the bottom earlier this year. For example, the July jobless rate of 9.5 percent locally was 72nd best (or 21st worst).
The new 7.1 percent figure for October also ranks better than all surrounding counties except Hendricks, which perpetually lands in the top 10. And that is no different this month with Hendricks posting a 6.0 percent jobless mark, good for 10th overall in Indiana.
Among other neighboring counties, Morgan tied with Putnam at 7.1 percent for 40th place, while Montgomery was at 7.5 percent for 55th overall. Owen County, at 8.0 unemployment, ranked 64th for the month, while Parke posted a 8.5 percent figure, tied for 75th overall.
Clay County escaped the bottom 10 this month, coming in at 8.6 percent, tied for the 76th worst Hoosier jobless rate for October.
The state's best jobless rate still belongs to Dubois County at 4.8 percent, followed by Daviess at 5.1 percent, Hamilton at 5.3 percent, Bartholomew at 5.4, Posey and Martin at 5.5, Monroe at 5.7, Warrick and Knox at 5.9, followed by Hendricks and Warren tied for 10th at 6.0.
At the bottom of the October list was Sullivan County at 10.3 percent, followed by Fayette (10.1), Lawrence and Miami (9.3), Wayne (9.1), LaPorte and Starke (8.9), Henry, Blackford and St. Joseph (8.8), rounding out the bottom 10 counties.
Indiana's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 8.0 percent in October, down from 8.2 percent in September. Indiana's unemployment level hasn't changed much since reaching 7.9 percent in April after going down from 9.3 percent in the middle of last year.
For October, Indiana (at 8.0 percent) fared better than all neighboring counties except Ohio (6.9). Kentucky was at 8.4, Illinois at 8.8 and Michigan at 9.1.
Indiana nearly doubled the national rate of job growth in October, adding 7,700 private sector jobs, marking the largest monthly gain since May. Private sector employment in the Hoosier state is now at more than 96 percent of the 2007 pre-recession levels.
"Over the past year Indiana has experienced one of the strongest periods of job growth in over a decade," Commissioner of the Department of Workforce Development Scott B. Sanders said. "Since last October we have added nearly 67,000 private sector jobs and continue to significantly outpace the national rate of growth."
Hoosier employment sectors that continue to exceed the national rate of growth in 2012 include Manufacturing (3.4 percent versus 1.3 percent), Leisure and Hospitality (4.2 percent versus 2.0 percent), Construction (3.2 percent versus -0.1 percent), Trade, Transportation and Utilities (1.3 percent versus 1.1 percent) and Private Educational and Health Services (2.0 percent versus 1.8 percent).