County tops state with low May unemployment

By BILL POWELL
bpowell@dcherald.com

After being tied with Bartholomew County on April’s leaderboard, Dubois County claimed sole possession of Indiana’s lowest unemployment rate last month.

Dubois County’s rate held steady at 2.1% in May to lead the state’s 92 counties. Bartholomew and Gibson counties were next with 2.2% rates, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

The state’s highest May unemployment — 4.5% — was found in Howard County. That was actually down six-tenths of a percent from the previous month for the county north of Terre Haute along the Indiana-Illinois border.

Rates in May rose in six of eight of Dubois County’s neighboring counties. Those rates were Daviess 2.3% (up from 2.2%); Orange, 3.3% (up from 3.1%); Perry, 2.9% (up from 2.8%); Pike, 3.0% (up from 2.8%); Spencer, 2.6% (up from 2.5%); and Warrick, 2.6% (up from 2.5%). The rate in Martin County, 2.5%, was unchanged and Crawford County’s rate fell, going from 3.6% in April to 3.3% in May.

The overall state rate in May was once again unchanged from the previous month at 3.6%. The national rate also stood at 3.6%, its lowest level since December 1969.

Indiana’s May labor force had a net decrease of 10,677 people over the previous month, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. This was a result of a decrease of 2,312 unemployed residents and a decrease of 8,365 employed residents. Indiana’s total labor force, which includes both Hoosiers employed and those seeking employment, stands at 3.4 million, and the state’s 65% labor force participation rate remains above the national rate of 62.8%.

Dubois County’s labor force consisted of 23,410 people in May — 22,911 of whom were employed. That left 499 classified as unemployed.

By way of comparison, the county’s rate in May 2018 was 2.4%, or three-tenths of a percent higher than the fifth month of 2019.

Indiana’s 3.6 percent May rate was lower than all of its immediate neighboring states. Those other states’ rates were Ohio, 4.1% (down from 4.3%); Kentucky, 4.0% (unchanged); Michigan, 4.2% (up from 4.1%); and Illinois, 4.4% (unchanged). Other favorable Midwest rates in May were Minnesota, 3.3% (unchanged), and Wisconsin, 2.8% (unchanged).




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