The fourth quarter of 2012 continued unkind to Putnam County's unemployment numbers as figures just released for December reached 8.6 percent locally.
The past three months have seen the jobless figure rise from 7.1 percent in October to 8.0 percent in November and finally 8.6 for December to close out the year on a bad note.
The state jobless figure for December was reported at 8.2 percent, up from 8.0 in November.
After posting increasingly better figures for August and September, Putnam County has since slumped to the extent that it has fallen into the bottom half of the state unemployment rankings, the latest Indiana Department of Workforce Development numbers reveal.
The new monthly rate puts Putnam County in a tie with Wabash County for the 50th best monthly ranking among the state's 92 counties.
The 8.6 percent Putnam County figure for December puts the county right in the middle of its neighbors, however.
On the plus side, Hendricks, which perpetually lands in the top 10, was tied for sixth at 6.8. Meanwhile, Montgomery and Morgan were tied at 8.3 percent for the 42nd spot in the new rankings.
Among other neighboring counties, all ranked in the bottom 20 for the month.
Owen, at 9.6 percent, tied with Orange County for 72nd for the month (20th worst), while Clay County escaped double digits this month, coming in 17th worst (75th best) at 9.9 percent.
Worst among the contiguous counties was Parke, which slipped into double-figure unemployment at 10.1 percent figure for 78th overall (14th worst).
The best jobless figure in the state still belongs to Dubois County at 5.9 percent, followed by Hamilton at 6.3, Daviess at 6.4, Martin at 6.5, Bartholo-mew at 6.6, Hendricks and Posey at 6.8 percent, Floyd at 6.9, and Warrick, Monroe, Johnson, Harrison and Clark, all tied for ninth at 7.0.
At the bottom of the December rankings is Vermillion County at 12.1 percent, followed by Sullivan (11.8), Fayette (11.5), Lawrence, Crawford and Starke (10.8), Miami (10.7), LaPorte (10.5) and Wayne (10.3) with Blackford, Jennings and Lake (tied at 10.2), rounding out the bottom 10 counties.
Indiana's unemployment rate grew slightly in December to 8.2 percent even though state officials say the state added 8,300 private sector jobs.
Figures released by the state Department of Workforce Development show Indiana's jobless rate rose 0.2 percent from November's 8 percent rate.
State Workforce Development Commissioner Scott Sanders attributed the increase mainly to more than 7,000 unemployed Indiana residents returning to the labor force to look for work.
His agency says about 267,000 Indiana residents were unemployed in December, up 15,000 from about 252,000 in November. That's based on a survey of 1,000 households.
December's U.S. unemployment rate was 7.8 percent, the same as in November.