tri plex 9500
ocal unemployment rate down slightly
By Keith Roysdon
MUNCIE — The community’s jobless rate is down slightly again.
The unemployment rate for Muncie and Delaware County in December was 6.6 percent, down from 6.7 percent in November and down a bit from 7 percent a year ago.
Delaware County’s jobless rate has steadily declined, with a few ups and downs, since it reached12 percent in the depths of the national recession.
In figures released Wednesday by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, 3,656 people were unemployed out of Muncie’s workforce of 55,103.
Mayor Dennis Tyler, who has frequently cited decreases in the unemployment rate since he took office in January 2012, said he thinks job creation — particularly at small businesses — is responsible for the better jobs picture.
“More than anything else, I think it’s people seeing that Muncie is growing again in a positive way, and people are willing to invest their dollars to create jobs,” Tyler said.
Delaware County ranked 17th of Indiana’s 92 counties for its unemployment rate. Lake County, with 8.2 percent unemployment, was at the top of the list.
In East Central Indiana, Blackford County had a rate of 6.1 percent, down from 6.4; Henry County had a rate of 6.5 percent, down from 6.6; Jay County had a rate of 5.2, up from 5.1; and Randolph County had a rate of 6.2, up from 6 percent.
The state’s unemployment rate actually rose slightly in December, up to 5.8 percent, which workforce officials attributed to a “large influx of jobseekers.”
The state says Indiana’s labor force has grown by 83,000 people since December 2013. The U.S. rate is 5.6 percent.
Statewide, the sectors with the largest grown in December were professional and business services, where 3,700 jobs were added, and manufacturing, with 1,600 jobs added.
Indiana’s 5.8 percent unemployment rate is lower than every surrounding state except Kentucky.
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