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County jobless rate drops in March

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Bartholomew County’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.7 percent in March, down from 7.2 percent a year ago.

It was the fourth-lowest rate in the state among Indiana’s 92 counties.

The drop came at the same time the state’s overall rate dropped to less than 6 percent for the first time since July 2008.

In February, Bartholomew County’s unemployment rate was at 5.2 percent.

State unemployment figures from Work One show 39,930 people had jobs in March of this year in Bartholomew County, compared to 37,724 a year ago.

Indiana added 3,200 private-sector jobs in March. Indiana ranks eighth in the nation in total private-sector job growth since July 2009, the low point of employment in the state.

During that time, Indiana has gained 215,500 private-sector jobs. Over the past year, Indiana’s manufacturing job growth of 12,700 leads the nation, solidifying its position as the state with the largest percentage of manufacturing jobs as a portion of the private sector in the country, said Scott B. Sanders, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

The state’s overall rate has dropped by 2 percentage points in one year, which is the third-largest decline in the nation, Sanders said.

“The Hoosier labor force has grown by more than 25,000 in the first quarter of 2014 alone, which is also remarkable,” he said.

Sanders also noted claims for state unemployment insurance in March were nearly 10,000 below March 2013 levels and are at their lowest since 2007. Initial claims for unemployment insurance are at their lowest levels since 2000.

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