Putnam at 4.3 jobless rate for October

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

October looked a lot like September in the state unemployment rankings released this week by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

Despite posting a monthly jobless rate just one-tenth of a percentage point higher than that of the state's 4.2 mark, Putnam County yet again finds itself stuck in the bottom half of Indiana's latest unemployment rankings.

In fact, at 4.3 percent, Putnam County ranks 53rd best overall among the state's 92 counties for the second straight month. Nonetheless Putnam posted the best October numbers within the eight-county west-central Indiana area.

The Putnam mark is considerably better than the other west-central Indiana counties of Clay (4.7), Parke (4.8), Owen (5.3) Vigo (5.3), Sullivan (5.5), Greene (6.1) and Vermillion (6.4). In fact, all of those other west-central counties find themselves mired in the state's bottom 20 for October, including Vermillion with the state's worst unemployment rate for the second straight month, while Greene again sits at No. 2 in that dubious ranking.

Meanwhile, among counties contiguous to Putnam on the east and north, Hendricks again ranks among Indiana's best with a 3.4 percent jobless rate, good for seventh best in the state. Montgomery County was tied for 17th at 3.6 percent in the latest figures, while Morgan, at 4.0, was tied for 43rd.

The top 10 Hoosier jobless rates by county for October are Dubois (2.9), Hamilton (3.0), Bartholomew (3.1), LaGrange, Boone and Adams (all 3.3), Hendricks, Gibson and Daviess (3.4) in a tie for seventh with Warrick, and Tipton rounding out the top 10.

On the opposite end of the jobless spectrum, the state's bottom 10 was again topped by Vermillion County (6.4), followed by Greene (6.1), Fayette and Lake at 5.8 percent with Sullivan, Lawrence and Blackford tied for fifth at 5.6, followed by Owen, LaPorte and Vigo, all at 5.3, tied for 10th place.

Indiana's unemployment rate fell in October for the 10th consecutive month, dropping 0.1 percent to 4.2 percent, the lowest it's been since 2001.

The state gained 5,400 manufacturing jobs in October, but only added 100 total private-sector jobs because of steep losses in trade, transportation and utilities, and professional and business services.

"The Hoosier unemployment rate is now at the lowest level since August of 2001," said Steven Braun, Indiana Department of Workforce Development commissioner. "Additionally, Indiana's labor force growth since January 2013 continues to outpace all other Midwest states."

Indiana's jobless rate is below the national average of 5 percent but remains one of the highest in the Midwest. Indiana is tied with Ohio for the eight worst unemployment rate out of the 12 U.S. Census-designated Midwestern states. Only Michigan, Missouri and Illinois have higher jobless rates in the Midwest.

Illinois continues to have the Midwest's highest jobless rate at 5.4 percent, which is unchanged from September.

Indiana's private-sector employment has grown by 140,000 jobs over the last three years.

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