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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, March 14, 2018 1:00 am

Local jobless rate steady

Rate rose slightly in January, but better than last year

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

The Fort Wayne area job market is still a good place to find work, based on the latest data from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

The jobless rate for the Fort Wayne metropolitan area that includes Allen, Wells and Whitley counties. was 3.2 percent in January, a half percentage point higher than the previous month, but a full percentage point lower than a year ago.

Out of a labor force of 209,890, figures from the state showed 6,793 were unemployed during January.

Indiana's seasonally adjusted jobless rate was 3.3 percent in January, down from 3.8 percent the same month last year. In December, it was 3.4 percent. Nationally, the jobless rate was 4.1 percent in January, down from 4.8 percent.

“Fort Wayne is continuing to enjoy full employment and we have for a number of years now,” said Rachel Blakeman, director of the Community Research Institute at IPFW.

She pointed out that the jobless rate for the Fort Wayne metro area was less than the state's, which has already been seasonally adjusted. The metro area's increase from December to January in joblessness may be due to seasonal jobs ending.

“These are the preliminary numbers so they can get revised a few times over,” Blakeman said.

The number of people in the labor force in January was nearly 950 fewer than the 210,825 in January 2017. But Blakeman saw what appears to be another bright spot: there were 1,200 more people employed in January this year compared with January a year ago. The number of unemployed in January was just under 6,795 compared to about 8,949 in the same month a year ago, a drop of more than 2,150.

“That's pretty substantial change but in a good way,” she said. “And a year ago we thought we were sitting pretty good.”