Jobless rate dips slightly

    The unemployment rate in Adams County dropped slightly during February, according to a report issued Friday by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. The new report showed Adams County with a February jobless rate of 8.3 percent, down from 8.5 percent in January and identical to the December 2011 rate.
    The county's unemployment rate one year ago was 8.8 percent. Friday's report showed that 1,243 members of Adams County's total labor force of 14,944 remained without work last month.
    Counties with the state's highest unemployment rate during February included Vermillion, 12.5 percent; Fayette, 11.8; Clay and Lawrence, 11.4; Starke, 11.3; Blackford, Crawford, Jennings and Miami, all at 11.1; and Owen and Putnam at 11.0 percent.
    Jobless rates for other counties in northeast Indiana included: Jay, 7.4 percent; Wells, 7.8; Allen, 8.5; Huntington, 8.8; Whitley, 8.1; and DeKalb, 9.5 percent.
    Indiana's unemployment rate held steady at 8.3 percent in February. Jobless levels for surrounding states included: Illinois, 9.1 percent; Kentucky, 8.7; Michigan, 8.8; and Ohio, 7.6 percent.
    The U.S. unemployment rate for February was 8.3 percent as new claims for unemployment insurance dropped to below 5,000 for the second week in a row, the first time this has happened in seven years, according to state officials.
    “The drop in the unemployment rate is good news, as is the decline in initial claims in unemployment insurance to levels not seen since 2005,” said Mark W. Everson, Commissioner of the Department of Workforce Development. “We also continue to see Hoosiers return to the workforce. Since February 2011, Indiana’s labor force grew by 40,600 or 1.3 percent, outpacing the national growth and in sharp contrast to our neighboring states that saw their labor forces shrink.”