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The Journal Gazette

Metro jobless rate at 6.7%

Slight rise reported, but trend brightens for Indiana, new jobs

The jobless rate in metro Fort Wayne inched up a tad to 6.7 percent in November, compared with 6.6 percent a month earlier, state figures showed Friday.

But that is still better than last November when the jobless rate flirted with 8 percent. The Fort Wayne metropolitan statistical area includes Allen, Wells and Whitley counties.

Information the Indiana Department of Workforce Development released Friday also showed that the state’s unemployment rate declined to 7.3 percent in November, compared with 7.5 percent in October.

Indiana also gained 25,300 private-sector jobs in November – the largest one-month increase on record.

“Today’s job numbers are welcome news to every Hoosier and are a testament to the hardworking people of our state and the businesses that power Indiana’s economy every day,” Gov. Mike Pence said in a statement. “The continued downward trend in unemployment and the significant growth in private-sector jobs demonstrate that Indiana’s economy is strong and growing stronger every day.”

But it wasn’t all rosy.

Before November, Fort Wayne had three consecutive months of jobless rate decreases. Last month didn’t continue what economy watchers had hoped would be a trend. Still, there is reason for optimism, said David Dilts, professor of economics at IPFW.

For one thing, federal lawmakers agreeing to a budget after a brief shutdown helped bolster investors, he said.

“Oil prices are still under $100 a barrel, and people are putting money back into equities and bonds, which is a reflection of confidence,” Dilts said. “The main thing, though, is that government shutdown is over. That hurt a lot and was just dumb.”

Regionally, the jobless rate fell last month in each of the four states near Indiana. Ohio had the lowest jobless rate, 7.4 percent, down from 7.5 percent in October. Joblessness in Kentucky was at 8.2 percent in November, compared with 8.4 percent in October; Illinois decreased to 8.7 percent from 8.9 percent in October; and Michigan declined to 8.8 percent in November from 9 percent a month earlier.

Unemployment figures in the four Ohio counties bordering northeast Indiana – Defiance, Paulding, Van Wert and Williams – will be released next Friday.