County unemployment numbers increase

The unemployment rate in Jackson County increased by three-tenths of a percentage point in October.

But the 4.4 percent rate is still better than the state’s 5.3 percent rate for October and better than the county’s

5.7 percent of people unemployed a year ago.

Plus, the county has the sixth-lowest rate in the state, according to the Indiana

Department of Workforce Development’s recent report.

Dubois County has the lowest number at 3.8 percent, while Hamilton County and neighboring Bartholomew County were next at 4 percent. Six counties were between 4.1 and 4.3 percent, and Martin and Whitley counties joined Jackson at 4.4 percent.

Sullivan County has the state’s highest unemployment rate at 7.3 percent.

The state workforce development’s numbers show the county’s labor force grew to 22,317 in October, up from 21,967 the previous month, and 21,338 were employed, up 275 from September.

But the number of unemployed people in the county also rose, going from 904 in September to 979 in October.

However, those numbers are all improvements from a year ago. In October 2013, there were 21,267 people available for work in Jackson County, 20,055 employed and 1,212 unemployed.

“Even though the unemployment rate increased slightly, the fact we saw the labor force grow by 350 and the number employed increase by 275, this is very good news for the economy of Jackson County,” said Jim Plump, executive director of Jackson County Industrial Development Corp.

“To look even longer term, over the past year, our workforce and number of those workers employed have each grown by more than 1,000, and the number unemployed has dropped, which demonstrates that our local economy is fairly strong right now,” Plump said. “We are in discussions with several industries that have additional growth plans for 2015, so the emphasis on workforce and training is going to become even more important moving forward.”

Taking a glance at how Indiana ranks nationwide in job growth, numbers look good.

The Hoosier state ranks third in manufacturing jobs added in October at 2,500. Wisconsin was first with 5,400, and then Pennsylvania had 2,700.

Indiana continues to lead the nation in manufacturing jobs added during the past year with 24,100. Texas is a distant second with 14,900.

Indiana also increased the number of trade, transportation and utilities jobs — which includes retail — by 3,300 in October. That puts the state at 10th in the nation.

In October, more than 14,000 Hoosiers were added to the labor force.

In the past year, Indiana’s unemployment rate has declined 1.4 percent, which is the 11th-largest decrease in the nation. Indiana’s decline of 5.1 percent since July 2009, the low point of employment in the state, ranks fourth in the U.S.

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Preliminary unemployment percentages by county, plus state and national figures:

County;Oct.;Sept.;August;July;June;May;April;March;Feb.;Jan.

Bartholomew;4.0;3.8;4.0;4.2;4.6;4.3;3.9;4.7;5.2;5.0

Brown;4.6;4.5;5.2;4.9;5.3;5.4;5.4;7.2;8.5;8.0

Jackson;4.4;4.1;4.5;4.6;5.0;4.8;4.5;5.0;5.5;5.3

Jennings;5.6;5.4;5.8;6.1;6.4;6.2;6.4;7.3;8.2;8.0

Lawrence;6.7;6.2;7.2;7.1;7.6;7.5;7.2;8.3;10.0;9.1

Monroe;5.1;4.7;5.2;5.8;6.3;5.3;4.5;5.3;6.0;5.4

Scott;5.4;5.2;5.6;5.8;6.3;6.0;5.6;6.2;6.8;6.7

Washington;5.2;5.3;5.5;6.1;6.5;6.2;6.9;7.6;8.7;8.1

State;5.3;5.1;5.5;5.8;6.1;5.8;5.5;6.3;6.9;6.6

Nation;5.5;5.7;6.3;6.5;6.3;6.1;5.9;6.8;7.0;7.0

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