NE Indiana unemployment rate remains low

FILE In this June 23, 2014 file photo, recruiter Christina O, left, with New Western Acquisitions, meets with employment seekers during a job fair in Philadelphia. As the economic recovery enters its sixth year, many Americans don't feel better off. The strong jobs report on Friday, Nov. 7, 2014, showed that the jobless rate the most closely watched gauge of the economy’s health is down to 5.8 percent. After Tuesday’s midterm elections, exit polling showed how little falling unemployment has resonated. Most voters said they cast their ballots out of fear for the economy, stripping the Democrats from the Senate majority and implicitly rejecting President Barack Obama. Many Americans don’t feel they’ve benefited from falling unemployment any more than they have from a sustained rise in the stock market or from solid U.S. economic growth. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) –  A report released Monday by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) shows unemployment in Northeast Indiana at a little under five percent which is down from the same time last year.

Joe Frank, a representative from DWD, said the workforce in Northeast Indiana has grown by around 8,000 people over the last year, and 7,000 of those people were in Fort Wayne. Frank said the Indiana labor force grew by 14,000 people in one month and 65,000 in the past year, placing Indiana in the top 10 states for unemployment reduction in the country. Although counties in Northeast Indiana are in the top half of the lowest unemployment numbers in the state, Frank said most of the state is currently below five percent unemployment.

The report shows that the Northeast Indiana unemployment rate was at 6.4 percent in October of 2013 but dropped down to 4.8 percent in October of this year. The city of Fort Wayne’s unemployment was at 6.5 percent in October of 2013 compared to 4.9 percent at that time this year.

Frank said the decreasing unemployment rates can be contributed to the state’s low business taxes which is attractive for companies relocating to the state, the state’s efficient highway system, manufacturing has increased in the past year, and gas prices have been low for the past couple months.

“When transportation costs are low…a manufacturer spends less on shipping goods around, so he can hire more people,” Frank said.

He said the increase in job availability in the state creates a competitive edge.

“There are more jobs available, and more people are looking for jobs, that drives up wages too,” Frank said.

He said there is still a need for skilled laborers to fill some of these jobs. However, he said he’s seeing more people recognize the need to go beyond a high school diploma and become a life-long learner.  He also said unemployment rates over the last three months in Indiana have been the lowest since 2008.

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