Jobless numbers headed in right direction …
The media have been accused of many things, but consistency isn’t one of them.
Good news, it often has been charged, gets less attention than bad news, especially on the economic front.
That perception may have been colored by much of the economic news in recent years, which was, in fact, very discouraging. But the indices here, as economists like to call numbers, are encouraging.
The latest example is the just-announced huge drop in unemployment that was recorded during August. According to preliminary figures released by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, only 7 percent of people in northeast Indiana were out of work in August.
In July, that number was 8.5 percent. The rate for Allen County alone in August was 7.1 percent.
Is this some kind of fluke? Perhaps not. The Fort Wayne area has been climbing out of the Great Recession for quite some time. Your memory probably doesn’t need it, but here’s an unpleasant jog: in June 2009, the Allen County unemployment number from the state was 11 percent.
In any case, there would be much howling and gnashing of media-teeth if the jobless rate had risen by 1.5 percent in a month. So, we pause to say, Great news!
Another positive for the area was the announcement this week of a $71 million mixed-use building project by Ash Brokerage Corp. We’ll look at that in more depth in Sunday’s editorial.
…But state’s wage gap still wide
Indiana job-seekers might be having more success these days, but recently released figures from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey show that the wage gap between Indiana men and women is among the largest in the nation. For every dollar Hoosier men earn, women earn less than 74 cents.
Indiana ranks 46th in the nation for wage equality, ahead of only Alabama, Utah, West Virginia, Louisiana and Wyoming. Women in the District of Columbia are closest to earning the same as men: 90 cents on the dollar.
It’s not just wages where Indiana women fall short. Another new study – this one from the Center for American Progress – gives the state an F overall for its standing on issues affecting women, including economic security, leadership and health factors.
Indiana ranks 42nd in the study – again, keeping company with Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and Louisiana – for measures that include poverty rates (16.8 percent of Indiana women and girls); women in public office (just 18 percent of the state’s congressional delegation); and the uninsured (15.6 percent of non-elderly Indiana women).
A new tack on school gun laws
Stand your schoolhouse ground? That’s the idea an Indiana lawmaker floated this week. Rep. Kevin Mahan, R-Hartford City, told the Times of Munster that he might support extending the state’s castle doctrine to schools. The law gives legal protection to a person who uses deadly force to prevent an attack in their own home.
Mahan said he doesn’t want to require schools to have armed personnel in each building but would consider changing the law to protect someone who did use a firearm in a school attack.
Let’s look at the possibility of rather than this person going and retreating into a bathroom and allowing someone to barge down the hallways and start shooting, maybe it is possible we could add that to the castle doctrine to give them the ability to possibly take action to stop any kind of intrusion like that, said Mahan, who served two years as Blackford County sheriff.
Of course, the sad history of school attacks hasn’t revealed any evidence of armed teachers or staff hiding in a bathroom for fear of prosecution if they stop an attacker. On the contrary, the stories have been of heroic efforts to protect students without regard for the personal safety of the teacher or administrator.
The castle doctrine proposal was offered to the School Safety Study Committee by Guy Relford, a Carmel gun-rights attorney whose practice focuses on the Second Amendment and Indiana gun laws.