Jobs available as Putnam jobless ranking even better for November

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

All signs continue to point to jobs being available in Putnam County -- if you need or want one -- as the new year nears.

Local restaurants are posting “now hiring” signs from downtown to Chadd Valley. Other businesses are advertising “accepting applications” on marquees and window panes. Several Greencastle industries are offering jobs with major benefits on all shifts.

And despite it being the week between holidays, the Banner Graphic classifieds are carrying nearly two dozen help-wanted ads.

Meanwhile, the Putnam jobless rate continues to make filling all those positions difficult on the local level.

Posting an unemployment figure of 3.8 percent for the second straight month, Putnam County managed to take a step forward in the state jobless rankings for November in the latest report from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

After finishing October in a tie for the 47th spot among the 92 Indiana counties, Putnam County emerged from the bottom half of the state rankings for November with a second straight monthly jobless rate of 3.8 percent -- this time good for a tie for 38th overall with Carroll, Clark, Harrison, Knox, Posey and Vanderburgh counties.

Overall for November, Indiana’s jobless rate was 3.9, identical to the October figure for the Hoosier State.

Experts believe that a jobless figure below 4 percent basically represents the chronically unemployed, essentially accounting for people whose job search is scuttled by child-care or transportation issues or who know they cannot pass a drug screen necessary to be hired.

Nonetheless, the consistent 3.8 percent Putnam jobless rate continues to represent a significant improvement locally, as earlier in 2016 the county had posted unemployment figures of 5.0 percent for January, 5.6 percent for February, 5.7 for March, 5.0 for April and 4.7 for June.

Meanwhile, again this month, the Putnam numbers are better than all the other west-central Indiana counties of Clay (4.1), Owen (4.4), Vigo (4.6), Parke (4.7), Sullivan (5.0), Vermillion (5.2) and Greene (5.4). All of those counties also either produced the status quo or posted worse numbers for November than October.

And with the exception of Owen (19th worst) and Clay (31st worst), the other west-central counties all find themselves loitering in the state’s bottom 15 for November. That includes Greene, which again posted the state’s worst unemployment figure of 5.4 percent.

Vermillion was Indiana’s fourth worst, Parke was 12th from the bottom and Vigo 15th worst overall.

Among counties contiguous to Putnam’s north and east, Hendricks again ranks among Indiana’s best with a 3.2 percent jobless rate, good for a tie for eighth best in the state. Meanwhile, Montgomery was tied for 25th best at 3.5, while Morgan was in a tie for 30th at 3.6 percent.

The top 10 Hoosier unemployment rates by county for November are, in order: Dubois (2.9), Bartholomew (2.9), Hamilton (3.0), Wells, Decatur and Boone (tied at 3.1), followed by a five-way tie for eighth among Hendricks, Tipton, Johnson, LaGrange and Gibson counties at 3.2.

On the opposite end of the jobless spectrum, the state’s bottom 10 was again topped by Greene and Lake (5.4 percent), followed by Fayette (5.3), Vermillion (5.2), LaPorte (5.1), Lawrence, Newton and Sullivan (5.0), with Crawford ninth at 4.9 percent and Blackford and Fountain counties tied for 10th worst at 4.8 percent.

Indiana’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate dipped two-tenths of a percentage point in November, to 4.2 percent — its lowest point since 2001, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development reported.

Among contiguous states, Indiana had a lower November unemployment rate than any of its neighbors. Kentucky had a jobless mark of 4.8 percent, followed by Michigan and Ohio (4.9 percent) and Illinois (5.6 percent).

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