County unemployment rate falls to 1.7%


Jackson County’s unemployment rate stood at 1.7% in November, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development’s latest report released Monday.

That’s the lowest unemployment rate in the county since at least January of 1990.

Overall, 22,931 county residents were on the job in November, which is 365 more than in November 2020 when 22,566 county residents were working. The jobless rate at that time was 3.7% because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The number of county residents reporting they were looking for work in November of this year was 388, compared to the 650 who were looking for work during the same month a year earlier.

The county’s labor force was 23,319 in November, which is 122 less than the same month in 2020.

The county’s unemployment rate for November was lower than the state’s rate of 2.1% and the national rate of 3.9%.

Other nearby counties and their unemployment rates for November were Bartholomew, 1.6%; Brown, 1.8%; Jennings, 2.1%; Lawrence, 2.0%; Monroe, 1.7%; Scott, 2.3%; and Washington, 1.8%.

Union and LaGrange counties had the lowest rate in the state at 1.2% in November, and Howard County had the highest at 4.7%.

The state’s online records are only available through January 1990 and Jackson County’s rate is not final. October’s preliminary rate of 2.0% was revised to 2.1% on the November report.

The update from the state officials came as America’s unemployment rate tumbled last month to its lowest point since the pandemic struck, even as employers appeared to slow their hiring — a mixed picture that pointed to a resilient economy that’s putting more people to work, The Associated Press reported.

The government reported earlier this month that businesses and other employers added just 210,000 jobs in November, the weakest monthly gain in nearly a year and less than half of October’s increase of 546,000, according to wire reports.

But other data from the Labor Department’s report painted a brighter picture. The unemployment rate plummeted from 4.6% to 4.2% as a substantial 1.1 million Americans said they found jobs last month.

The U.S. economy still remains under threat from a spike in inflation, shortages of labor and supplies and the potential impact of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, according to wire reports. But for now, Americans are spending freely, and the economy is forecast to expand at a 7% annual rate in the final three months of the year, a sharp rebound from the 2.1% pace in the previous quarter, when the delta variant hobbled growth.

For months, employers have been struggling with worker shortages because many people who lost jobs in the pandemic have not, for various reasons, returned to the workforce, according to the AP. But last month, nearly 600,000 people came off the sidelines to look for jobs and were generally hired quickly. The government classifies people as unemployed only if they’re actively seeking work.

As a result, the proportion of Americans who are in the workforce rose from 61.6% to 61.8%, the first significant increase since April, according to wire reports. If that much-anticipated development continues, it could point to stronger job growth ahead.

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