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The Journal Gazette

Area joblessness up to 6%

Rises 3rd month in a row as more people look for work

Metro Fort Wayne unemployment has increased for three consecutive months.

Not to worry.

It just means more people are seeking work than are being hired. It's a familiar line, but true, said John Kessler, director of the Center for Economic Education at IPFW.

“Actually, we're doing pretty well,” he said, referring to the Fort Wayne metropolitan statistical area, where joblessness rose to 6 percent in July, compared with 5.6 percent a month earlier.

“It's kind of a screwy thing, but people could be getting jobs, and the unemployment rate will go up if there are more entering the job market because things are getting better,” Kessler said.

On Tuesday, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development released the figures for metro Fort Wayne, comprising Allen, Wells and Whitley counties.

A day earlier, the agency reported that the state's unemployment rate was unchanged in July from a month earlier at 5.9 percent.

“Indiana followed up a record-breaking June by adding nearly 10,000 more private sector jobs in July,” said Scott Sanders, commissioner of the Department of Workforce Development.

Kessler said another reason for the rise in unemployment in metro Fort Wayne could be employers who are being cautious based on various market conditions.

“It's possible they're waiting to see how things play out over the rest of the year,” he said. “I still wouldn't call what we're going through a trend, though. Overall, we're still headed in a downward position.”

In July 2013, unemployment in metro Fort Wayne was nearly 8 percent.

“And at least we're not flirting with 9 and 10 percent,” Kessler said.

Regionally, Hoosiers fared better than their neighbors in Michigan, Illinois and Kentucky. Michigan was 7.7 percent in July, compared with 7.5 percent a month earlier; Illinois was 6.8 percent, down from 7.1 percent; and July unemployment in Kentucky was unchanged at 7.4 percent.

Ohio had the lowest jobless rate in the region in July. The Buckeye State came in at 5.7 percent, compared with 5.5 percent in June.

Unemployment in the four Ohio counties bordering northeast Indiana – Williams, Defiance, Paulding and Van Wert – rose last month. Defiance was at 5.8 percent, up from 5.6 percent in June; Williams was at 5.7 percent, up from 5.6 percent; Van Wert was at 5.3 percent, up from 4.9 percent; and Paulding was at 5.2 percent, up from 5.1 percent.