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Local jobless rates better or steady

KPC News Service

Mar 26, 2019

After sharp increases in January, unemployment rates for northeast Indiana counties improved or held steady in February, a state report said Monday.

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development issued its February jobs report.

Following one month in third place for the area, LaGrange County returned to its usual status with the region’s lowest unemployment rate of 3.3 percent, improved from 3.7 percent in January.

LaGrange County added 135 jobs for a total of 19.672. Its labor force grew by 54 people to 20,349. That reduced the number of unemployed residents by 81, leaving 677 without jobs.

DeKalb County’s rate remained unchanged at 3.4 percent. The county showed an increase of 76 jobs to a total of 21,941, with the labor force growing by 87 people to 22,721. The number of unemployed people rose by 11 to 780.

Steuben County’s unemployment rate also held steady at 3.4 percent. The county added 188 jobs for a total of 19,820. Its labor force increased by 174 to 20,507. That decreased the number of employed residents by 14, leaving 687 job-seekers.

Noble County’s unemployment rate improved to 3.6 percent, down from 4.2 percent in January. The county showed an increase of 160 jobs to a total of 22,830. Its labor force grew by 35 people to 23,689. The number of unemployed people declined by 125 to a total of 859.

LaGrange tied for the 9th-lowest unemployment rate among Indiana’s counties. Steuben and DeKalb tied for 13th-lowest, while Noble County tied for 23rd-best.

The statewide seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained the same as January at 4.1 percent. That rate precisely matched the national average.

Indiana gained more than 20,000 jobs in February for a total of 3.27 million. Its labor force grew at the same rate to 3.41 million, the state report said.

Indiana’s private-sector employment has grown by 40,400 over the past year and 4,400 over the previous month. The monthly increase is primarily due to gains in the sectors of trade, transportation and utilities, with 3,300 more jobs, and professional and business services, adding 2,500 jobs. 

Indiana showed job losses in construction, with 2,100 fewer jobs, and the financial activities, with a decline of 900 jobs.

Indiana’s total private employment reached a preliminary record high point of 2,747,600, which is 15,500 above the December 2018 peak, the state said.