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County jobless rate sees slight increase

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Bartholomew County’s unemployment rate rose slightly in February to 5.2 percent from 5 percent in January.

In seasonally adjusted numbers, Indiana Workforce Development reported 2,159 Bartholomew County residents were unemployed in February. That compares with 2,839 in February 2013, when the unemployment rate was just over 7 percent.

The labor force was up slightly from 41,674 in January to 41,822 in February. In February 2013, the labor force stood at 40,557.

Bartholomew County had the fourth-lowest unemployment rate in the state in February. Hamilton County had the lowest rate at 4.6 percent. Dubois County was second-lowest at 4.9 percent; and Daviess County had a 5 percent rate.

The Jennings County rate was 8.2 percent for February, compared with 10.7 percent in February 2013.

Indiana’s overall unemployment rate was at 6.1 percent, down from an initially reported 6.4 percent in January.

The number of unemployed Hoosiers is less than 200,000 for the first time since August 2008, said Scott B. Sanders, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

The unemployment rate has been on a downward slide so far this year while the labor force has expanded by nearly 14,000. Indiana’s rate is now more than one-half of a percentage point below the national rate for the first time in a decade, Sanders said.

Indiana also added 5,400 private-sector jobs in February, according to Friday’s unemployment report. More than 214,000 private-sector jobs have been added in Indiana since July 2009, the low point of employment for the state.

Statewide, initial claims for unemployment insurance in February were nearly 5,000 below February 2013 and are at the lowest level in nearly 15 years, Sanders said.

Highs and lows

Hamilton County had Indiana’s lowest unemployment rate in January at 4.6 percent. Dubois County was second-lowest at 4.9 percent, and Daviess County had a 5 percent rate.

The state’s highest unemployment rate for February was Vermillion County at 11.1 percent, followed by Lawrence County at 10 percent and LaPorte County at 9.4 percent.

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