Jobless rate holds steady in Putnam County
As Putnam County awaits employment additions at some major local employers, the jobless figures in the county held steady from April to May.
For the second straight month, the county reported an unemployment rate of 7.8 percent, which was good for a seven-way tie for 35th best in the state.
While the rate was the same, it marked a six-spot jump from April's rankings.
Putnam's jobless rate outranked all but two contiguous counties, with Hendricks holding down its perpetual top-five spot (fourth at 6.3 percent) and Morgan (7.6 percent, good for 32nd) a few spots ahead of Putnam.
Elsewhere, Montgomery County took a half-point jump in its rate to 7.9 percent, good for a tie for 42nd best.
Clay (65th at 8.9 percent) and Owen (73rd at 9.4 percent) both rank in the bottom half statewide, but both improved their rates over April.
At 79th best in the state, Parke's 9.6 percent unemployment is worst in the immediate area.
The top two counties in the state traded rankings, with Hamilton at 5.6 percent edging Dubois at 5.7 percent, followed by Daviess at 6.2, Hendricks at 6.3, Bartholomew at 6.3, Martin at 6.5, Kosciusku at 6.6, Boone at 6.6 and Knox, Johnson and Hancock in a 10th-place tie at 6.7 percent.
Fountain County jumped more than two points to take over at the bottom of the rankings at 12.0 percent. The rest of the bottom 10 included Fayette (11.3), Sullivan (11.0), Vermillion (10.9), Lawrence (10.6), Vigo (10.3), LaPorte (10.1), Starke (10.1), Miami (10.0) and Grant (9.9).
At the state level, the news was good, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development reported. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell for the second straight month, from 8.5 percent to 8.3 percent.
Indiana was one of only two Midwestern states to experience a decrease in rate for the month. So far in 2013, initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits are at their lowest levels since 2000.
Other good news included the private sector adding 9,000 jobs in May, the largest monthly increase since February 2012.
All this means that private sector employment is now at pre-recession levels -- 2,516,600 in May 2013, compared to 2,513,300 in July 2008.
"May was quite a positive month for job growth in the Hoosier State," Scott B. Sanders, Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, said. "Most tangible employment measures seem to be trending in the right direction for the moment, which is cause for cautious optimism."
Sanders also noted Indiana has added 45,300 private sector jobs over the past year, more than one-third of which have occurred since January. Thirteen percent of private sector growth over the past year has come from manufacturing as Indiana continues to have more manufacturing jobs as a percentage of the private sector than any other state.