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Area has big gains in jobs in past year

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Bartholomew County employers added nearly 800 jobs between January 2012 and January 2013, an increase of 2.1 percent, according to data released Monday by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

The county’s January labor force, at 41,447, was the highest ever for a January in Bartholomew County, according the state agency’s records. The January total was about 400 fewer than December, but that’s typical because of seasonal jobs added during the holiday shopping period.

The percentage growth of jobs year-over-year in the Columbus Metropolitan Statistical Area, consisting of all of Bartholomew County, was stronger than all but one of the state’s 14 Metropolitan Statistical Areas. Elkhart-Goshen recorded a growth rate of 3.1 percent. Eight of the state’s MSAs reported job declines.

Four adjacent counties — Brown, Jennings, Johnson and Shelby — saw increases in employment over that 12-month period of less than 1 percent, the report said. Statewide, however, the total of working Hoosiers was essentially unchanged. Nearby, Jackson County saw a 0.4 percent decrease.

The federal report for January also showed Indiana’s growth in job seekers as the largest since 1993. However, Indiana Workforce Development Commissioner Scott Sanders said the report used a new and inaccurate formula and calculated Indiana’s January unemployment rate of 8.6 percent as being higher than it actually was. The rate was 8.5 percent in January 2012.

In Bartholomew County, the posted January jobless rate of 7.7 percent, an increase from 6.9 percent a year earlier, was the seventh-lowest in the state and remained significantly below the state average.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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