County slips to No. 2 in unemployment


After a tie with Bartholomew County for the state’s employment lead in November, Dubois County landed in the No. 2 spot in December, according to a new state report.

The Dubois County rate was 2.4 percent in December, down three-tenths of a percent from the previous month, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

Central Indiana’s Tipton County, north of Indianapolis, was No. 1 with a 2.3 percent rate.

Bartholomew County, east of Bloomington and home to the City of Columbus, moved into a three-way tie for No. 3 with Gibson and Boone counties as that trio posted 2.5 percent rates.

The state’s highest December unemployment — 5.7 percent — was in Vermillion County, which is north of Terre Haute along the Indiana-Illinois border.

Rates in December fell in six of eight of Dubois County’s neighbors: Daviess, 2.7 percent (down from 2.9 percent); Martin, 2.7 percent (down from 3.1 percent); Orange, 3.5 percent (down from 3.9 percent); Pike, 3.5 percent (down from 3.8 percent); Spencer, 3.3 percent (down from 3.6 percent); and Warrick, 2.9 percent (down from 3.1 percent). Perry County’s 3.7 percent rate was unchanged, and Crawford County, with a 5.2 percent rate, saw unemployment rise from 4.6 percent in November. Crawford was tied with Lake County in the northwest corner of Indiana for the second-highest December unemployment.

The overall state rate in December once again stood at 3.6 percent, remaining under a national rate of 3.9 percent. Prior to last month, the U.S. unemployment rate had been at a 50-year low of 3.7 percent for three straight months.

With the exception of one month when it was equal (October 2014), Indiana’s unemployment rate now has been below the U.S. rate for more than five years, according to Workforce Development.

The U.S. Labor Department reported that nationwide hiring surged during December. The 155,000 jobs added in November was a slowdown from previous months but U.S. businesses added 312,000 jobs in December. That was well above what economists expected.

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development said Dubois County’s labor force consisted of 23,175 people in December — 22,613 of whom were employed. That left 562 classified as unemployed.

By way of comparison, the county’s rate in December 2017 was 2.2 percent, or two-tenths of a percent lower than the 12th month of 2018.

Indiana’s 3.6 percent December rate (unchanged) was lower than all of its immediate neighboring states. Those other states’ rates were: Ohio, 4.6 percent (unchanged); Kentucky, 4.4 percent (down from 4.5 percent); Michigan, 4.0 percent (up from 3.9 percent); and Illinois, 4.3 percent (up from 4.2 percent). Other favorable Midwest rates in December were: Minnesota, 2.8 percent (unchanged); and Wisconsin, 3.0 percent (unchanged).

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