State jobless rate holds steady as Putnam slips to 6.0 percent

Friday, June 27, 2014

While Indiana's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady at 5.7 percent for May -- precisely the same figure both the state and Putnam County posted for April -- the local report wasn't as good.

The Putnam figure slipped back to 6.0 percent for May for 57th best among the 92 Hoosier counties, while landing smack dab in the middle amidst the seven west-central Indiana counties.

At least Putnam's May figures again fared better than three neighboring counties languishing in the bottom 25 of the state's monthly jobless listings.

Owen County, at 7.1 percent, was tied for 10th worst last month, while Clay bottomed out at 21st worst at 6.5 percent and Parke fell to 6.4 percent, good enough for a tie for 70th best or 22nd worst.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, meanwhile, neighboring Hendricks County, regularly a top-10 denizen, was tied for eighth overall at 4.6 percent for May.

Morgan was 35th at 5.3 percent in the latest state jobless rankings, while Montgomery, at 5.5 percent, tied for the 44th for May.

Indiana's best unemployment mark is again owned by Dubois County at 3.9 percent with Hamilton just a tick back at 4.0 percent, followed in the top five by Daviess, Koscuisko and Bartholomew counties at 4.3 percent.

Also in the May top 10 are Lagrange and Boone, tied with for sixth at 4.5, followed by Hendricks and Wells at 4.6 for eighth and Martin, Knox and Jackson, all at 4.7 percent to round out the top 10 counties.

Landing at the bottom of Hoosier jobless rankings for May were Fayette at 8.0 percent, followed by Vermillion and Vigo at 7.8, Lake at 7.7 and Lawrence at 7.5. Then come Sullivan at 7.4, LaPorte at 7.3, Delaware and Fountain at 7.2 and Owen and Miami at 7.1 percent to complete the bottom 10.

Indiana's unemployment rate held steady at 5.7 percent, mainly due to approximately 2,000 unemployed Hoosiers returning to the labor force to look for work.

The Indiana jobless rate remains more than one-half of a percentage point below the national rate. Indiana's labor force gains also continue to outpace the national rate, as the Hoosier labor force has grown by more than 46,000 over the past year, while U.S. increases have been minimal.

Indiana added 4,800 private sector jobs in May, led by the Private Educational and Health Services (+2,100) and Professional and Business Services Sectors (+1,000). Since July of 2009, the low point of employment in the state, Indiana has added nearly 223,000 private sector jobs.

"The Hoosier labor force has grown significantly for the past eight months in a row," said Scott B. Sanders, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. "This is not the case with some of our neighboring states who have experienced unemployment rate declines due to decreases in their labor force. It is clear that Hoosiers are going back to work and that good jobs are available."

Sanders also noted claims for state unemployment insurance in May were more than 10,000 below May 2013 levels. Initial claims and continued claims remain at levels not seen since 2000.

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