State ranking better despite rise in Putnam jobless rate

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The last time Putnam County posted an unemployment rate as poor as the one announced Monday for January 2013 -- 10.0 percent -- the county had tumbled into the bottom 10 of Indiana's monthly jobless rankings.

That was back in July 2012 when the June numbers were posted and the 9.8 percent unemployment rate Putnam County was saddled with tied the county for 10th worst about Indiana's 92 counties.

However, when the January jobless numbers were announced this week, the local figure fell right in the middle of the pack despite the double-digit Putnam County deflation. That 10.0 local rate tied Putnam with Cass County for the 46th spot in the monthly rankings.

With Indiana overall producing a 9.6 percent unemployment mark for January, Gov. Mike Pence saw positive signs in those negative numbers.

"While every Hoosier can be encouraged by the news that Indiana added 8,200 private sector jobs in January, our state's unemployment rate is too high," Gov. Pence said in a statement. "As I have seen in my travels across the state, despite the progress we have made, our economy is still struggling.

"In light of today's news," the governor added, "we have no choice but to remain bold in our efforts to strengthen our economy and put Hoosiers back to work. We must enact a budget that holds the line on spending, funds our priorities, protects our reserves and allows hardworking Hoosiers and small business owners to keep more of what they earn.

"By maintaining our commitment to fiscal responsibility, reducing taxes, cutting red tape, and investing in workforce innovation, Indiana can and will stem the tide of unemployment and put Hoosiers struggling in this economy back to work."

The jobless rate has continued to be unkind to Putnam County since final quarter of 2012. The last three months of 2012 saw the jobless figure rise each month from 7.1 percent in October to 8.0 percent in November and 8.6 for December to close out the year on a sour note.

Nonetheless, the 10.0 percent Putnam figure posted for January puts the county right in the middle of its neighbors.

Hendricks, which perpetually lands in the top 10, was sixth for January at an uncharacteristically high 7.5 percent. Meanwhile, Montgomery posted a 9.1 percent mark, tied for 29th best, while Morgan was at 9.6 percent for the 42nd spot in the rankings for a second straight month.

Among the other neighboring counties, all ranked in the bottom quarter for the month.

Clay County had the worst month among contiguous counties, tumbling back into the bottom 10 at 11.8 percent, good for ninth worst for January. Parke, which slipped to 11.6 percent, fell to a tie for 11th worst (82nd overall).

Meanwhile, Owen County, at 11.1 percent, tied with Brown County for at No. 70 for the month (23rd worst).

The best jobless figure in the state belonged to Hamilton County at 6.7 percent, followed by Dubois at 6.9, Daviess at 7.1, Martin at 7.2, Monroe at 7.4, Hendricks at 7.5 percent, Bartholomew at 7.7, Knox at 7.8, Johnson at 7.9 and Warrick, Switzerland and Jackson, all at 8.2 percent.

For January, Vermillion County finds itself at the bottom of the rankings again at 13.5 percent, followed by Sullivan (13.3), Crawford (12.8), Fayette (12.7), Lawrence (12.6), Starke (12.5), Jennings and LaPorte (12.0), with Clay (11.8) and Miami (11.7) rounding out the bottom 10 counties.

Indiana added 8,200 private sector jobs in January, marking the 19th consecutive month of job growth, figures show.

Over the past month the Hoosier State accounted for nearly six percent of the nation's private sector employment increase while adding jobs at three times the national rate (0.3 percent versus 0.1 percent).

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