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The Journal Gazette

Metro jobless rate climbs to 7.4% in November

The preliminary unemployment rate in the Fort Wayne metropolitan statistical area inched up to 7.4 percent in November from a revised rate of 6.8 percent in October, according to state data released Friday.

The increase was driven by job losses in the construction industry, where work tends to slow during colder months, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development said in a written statement.

Fort Wayne’s MSA includes Allen, Wells and Whitley counties. A year ago, the MSA’s preliminary unemployment rate was 9.4 percent, 2 full percentage points higher than last month.

Noble County notched the region’s highest preliminary unemployment rate last month with 8.8 percent. Wells had the lowest at 6.7 percent.

Indiana’s overall unemployment rate for November was 8.0 percent, the same as the previous month’s seasonally adjusted rate.

The number of initial claims for unemployment insurance this year has been the lowest of any year since 2005, according to Scott Sanders, commissioner of the Department of Workforce Development.

Indiana’s job growth in some sectors outpaces national numbers, official said. They include:

•Manufacturing – 4.7 percent vs. 1.5 percent

•Leisure and hospitality – 3.6 percent vs. 2.3 percent

•Trade, transportation and utilities – 2.7 percent vs. 1.6 percent

John Stafford, director of the Community Research Institute at IPFW cautions not to focus too much on any one month of unemployment statistics. Even so, seasonal trends were probably to blame for the job losses that “erase(d) some of the gains in employment and labor force experienced over the last couple of months,” he said in a written statement.

The number of people working in the Fort Wayne MSA dropped 1.4 percent to 196,642 in November from 199,444 in October.

November unemployment was 6.8 percent in Ohio, the only neighboring state with lower unemployment than Indiana. Michigan’s rate was 8.9 percent.

sslater@jg.net

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