Follow The Republic:
Employment in Columbus hit an all-time high in August, eclipsing the previous record that had reigned for more than 15 years.
Employers in Bartholomew County provided jobs to 40,549 people in August, 455 more than the previous record from July 1998, according to data released Friday by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.
Torrid job growth within the past year also lowered the county’s unemployment rate to 5.5 percent, the lowest in nearly 5 years.
Employers in the Columbus Metropolitan Statistical Area — consisting of all of Bartholomew County — added nearly 1,700 jobs in the past year, for a growth rate of 4.3 percent, second among the state’s 14 metro areas. Only Lafayette recorded a higher growth rate at 5.7 percent.
“It’s very encouraging news for our community,” said Cindy Frey, president of the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce.
Frey said that a report from the U.S. Department of Labor indicates that the bulk of the local job growth has been fueled by durable goods manufacturing, with companies including Cummins and auto parts supplier Sunright America making significant investments and hiring.
That’s good news for workers still looking for jobs after the recession, but the low unemployment rate coincides with a recent Columbus Economic Development Board survey that indicated companies are struggling to find and retain workers.
Toshiaki Takeuchi, executive vice president with Sunright America, said recently that it may hire 30 people per month — but at the same time may lose 15 to 20.
Frey said a lack of skilled workers will continue to be an impediment to growth, although she said the Economic Development Board survey also projected that local job growth would continue for the next few years.
In the report, 27 of the 39 companies surveyed said they planned to invest a total of $150.4 million in the next three years.
The number of people reported jobless in Bartholomew County in August fell to 2,371, the lowest since November 2008. While that figure is far below the recession peak of 4,200, it is about 1,000 higher than what was typical before the recession.
Other south-central Indiana counties also reported
significant unemployment rate declines.
The rates in Brown, Decatur, Jackson, Jennings, Johnson and Shelby counties all declined by at least 0.9 percentage points. The rate in Decatur County fell 1.9 percentage points.
Those counties also recorded significant job gains over the past 12 months: Employment in Jackson and Decatur counties each rose by more than 1,000.
The state’s jobless rate, at 7.5 percent, dropped 0.9 percentage points, as the state’s employers added nearly 56,000 jobs year-over year.
The nation’s rate, at 7.3 percent, also fell 0.9 percentage points. Nationwide, employers since August of 2012 have added nearly 2 million jobs.
Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!
Note: All comments left on our sites are first reviewed by an automated comment moderation system. Your comment may take up to 5 minutes to appear. If for any reason your comment can not be approved you will receive an email from this system with a detailed explanation.
All content copyright ©2013 The Republic, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.