Putnam jobless rate 13th worst during February

Friday, March 28, 2014

While Indiana's overall unemployment rate provided good news for the state when the latest figures were announced Friday, it proved just the opposite for Putnam County.

The local jobless figure ballooned to 8.6 percent for February, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development reported, dropping Putnam County in a three-way tie with Sullivan and Fountain counties for the 13th worst unemployment rate in the state.

Indiana's unemployment rate, meanwhile fell to 6.1 percent, its lowest level since the national recession began in 2008.

Figures released Friday show Indiana's jobless rate for February fell two-tenths of a percentage point from January's 6.3 percent. The last time Indiana's unemployment mark was this low was in August 2008.

The Indiana figure was also below the national jobless rate of 6.7 percent for February.

Belying the state trend, Putnam County posted Indiana's 13th worst unemployment rate during February, possibly its lowest ranking ever recorded since month jobless listings were made public.

The local jobless rate has been higher -- witness the 10.0 percent in January 2013, 9.8 percent figure in February 2013 and 9.3 percent for March 2013 -- but during those months those percentages still only put the county in the middle of the pack among Indiana's 92 counties.

Putnam's February figures ranked better than only one neighboring county as Owen County, at 9.0 percent, was tied for 83rd overall (or ninth worst) last month.

Meanwhile, Parke and Clay counties were again mired near the bottom of the state ranking. For February, Clay was tied for 16th worst (77th best) at 8.5 percent, while Parke was at 8.3 percent, good for tied for 19th worst (74th best).

Hendricks, a regular top-10 occupant, was tied for fifth overall at 5.4 percent in February. Montgomery, at 6.3 percent, tied for the 32nd in state rankings with three others. Meanwhile, Morgan was 54th at 7.4 percent in the latest rankings.

The state's best jobless figure for February is owned by Hamilton County at 4.6 percent with Dubois at 4.9 percent for second, followed by Daviess, Bartholomew, and LaGrange counties, all tied for fifth with Hendricks at 5.4 percent. In order after that come Knox at 5.5, Boone (5.7), and Tippecanoe, Switzerland, Martin and Jackson in a tie for 10th at 5.8 percent.

Landing at the bottom of the Hoosier jobless rankings were Vermillion at 11.1 followed by Lawrence at 10.0, LaPorte at 9.4, Crawford and Jasper tied at 9.3 percent tied for fourth worst. Completing the bottom 10 for February are Newton at 9.2, Fayette and Starke at 9.1 and Lake and Owen tied for tenth at 9.0.

The Hoosier unemployment rate has been on a downward slide so far in 2014 while the labor force has expanded by nearly 14,000. Indiana's rate is now more than one-half of a percentage point below the national rate for the first time in a decade.

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