County jobless rate back on downward fall

    Unemployment in Adams County fell during February to 8.8 percent, down from 9.2 percent one month earlier, according to figures released Thursday by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.
    One year ago, in February of 2010, the county's jobless rate stood at 11.6 percent. County unemployment numbers peaked in July 2009 at 15.2 percent, and the decline since that time has been mostly steady. The highest jobless rate recorded by Adams County during 2010 came in January at 11.8 percent.
    The February report shows that 1,278 members of the county's total labor force of 14,605 remained without work last month. That figure represents a decline from the 1,337 unemployed county workers in January.
    The report leaves Adams ranked 66th among Indiana's 92 counties in overall unemployment levels. Vermillion County leads the state with a 13.7 percent jobless rate, while Daviess County sports the state's lowest unemployment rate at 5.7 percent.
    Rates for other counties in northeast Indiana included: Jay, 8.6 percent; Blackford, 11.1; Wells, 9.1; Allen, 9.4; Whitley, 9.3; and Huntington, 9.9 percent.

    Indiana's preliminary seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate dropped 0.3 percent, to 8.8 percent in February. This marks the first time since December 2008 the state's unemployment rate has been less than 9 percent.
    "The number of Hoosiers claiming state unemployment insurance benefits is less than half the number it was two years ago," said Mark W. Everson, Commissioner of the Department of Workforce Development. "Moreover, new claims for unemployment insurance are now at a level not seen since 2006."
    February unemployment rates for neighboring states included: Illinois, 8.9 percent; Kentucky,10.4; Michigan, 10.4; and Ohio, 9.3 percent.
    Joining Vermillion atop the list of counties with the highest unemployment in Indiana during February were Crawford and Fayette, 12.7 percent; Newton, 12.6; Franklin, 12.4; Jennings and Putman, 12.3; Tipton and Starke, 12.2; and Lawrence and Washington, 12.1 percent.