Official: Lower unemployment means higher wages

Jackson County’s unemployment rate in April fell to its lowest level in nearly eight years.

The county had an estimated rate of 3.8 percent, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development report released Thursday.

That rate matches the April 2007 unemployment rate. A month later in May 2007, the county had an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent.

Jim Plump, executive director of Jackson County Industrial Development Corp., said the drop in the unemployment rate this year has accomplished a couple of things.

“The manufacturers as well as a lot of other people I speak with say it’s becoming more and more difficult to find workers due to the low unemployment rate we’re experiencing not just here but throughout the region,” Plump said.

The upside of that is employers are starting to increase wages in an effort to retain employees, he said.

“I think that’s one of the results of the lower unemployment rate, and higher wages are a good thing for the area,” Plump said.

He said the inability to find employees also highlights the need for JCIDC to continue to emphasize the workforce development component of what it does.

“It is extremely critical that we continue to focus on having skilled workers available for those jobs,” he said.

The county’s rate in April of this year was nearly a percentage point lower than the 4.7 percent rate a year ago.

April’s rate also is the eighth-lowest in the state, which had an overall unemployment rate of 4.6 percent in April.

Dubois County had the lowest rate in the state at 2.9 percent, followed by Hamilton County’s 3.1 percent rate. Bartholomew, Boone and Daviess counties were tied for the third-lowest rate in the state at 3.3 percent. Vermillion County had the highest rate at 6.9 percent.

In April 2014, 20,150 people from a workforce of 21,135 were on the job, and another 985 were reportedly looking for work. In April of this year, 20,338 people from a workforce of 21,140 were on the job, and 802 people reported that they were looking for work.

In April 2007, the workforce stood at 21,587, and 823 people reportedly were looking for work.

The state’s unemployment rate was down from 5.6 percent a year ago. The national rate of 5.1 percent in April also was down, from 5.9 percent a year ago.

By the numbers

Unemployment rates

County;April;Ranking

Jackson;3.8;68th

Bartholomew;3.3;3rd

Brown;4.5;39th

Jennings;4.9;31st

Monroe;4.2;51st

Washington;5.1;25th

Scott;5.12;24th

Lawrence;6.2;4th

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Aubrey Woods is editor of The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at awoods@tribtown.com or 812-523-7051.