Bartholomew County unemployment plummets to record low 1%

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Unemployment in Bartholomew County dropped last month to its lowest level on record amid an increasingly tight labor market, according to data released Wednesday by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

In December, the jobless rate in the county stood at 1% the lowest since at least January 1990 and down from 1.6% in November, state records show. Unemployment in Indiana was a seasonally adjusted 2.7%, down from 3% the month before.

Surrounding counties had similarly low unemployment rates, with Brown, Decatur, Jackson and Jennings counties each having jobless rates between 1% and 1.4%.

A total of 19 counties in Indiana including neighboring Johnson County had unemployment rates of 0.9% or less.

By comparison, the average local jobless rate in Bartholomew County was 4.3% from 1990 to 2019, with notable spikes around the time of the Great Recession.

In the year leading up to the pandemic, unemployment hovered between 2% and 2.7% before the virus sent the local economy into a tailspin in spring 2020. The local jobless rate has decreased in 16 of the previous 20 months since reaching a high of just over 17% in April 2020.

The update from state officials came after the federal government reported that the nation’s unemployment rate fell in December to 3.9% a pandemic low even as employers added a modest 199,000 jobs, evidence that they are struggling to fill jobs, The Associated Press reported.

For the complete story, see Friday’s Republic.