by Sarah Einselen Pharos-Tribune
---- — Cass County unemployment is down to its lowest level since October 2008, according to a state unemployment report released Tuesday.
Unemployment in the county dropped to 6.5 percent in December 2013, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development reported, down from 7.3 percent unemployment in November.
The labor force in the county stayed relatively steady, according to DWD numbers, losing 49 people, or 0.3 percent of the total workforce, to land at a total of 17,761 reported making up the labor force.
“I think the key number is that the number of employed for Cass County went up,” said John Hipskind, director of the City of Logansport Economic Development Organization. DWD reported 16,608 people employed in Cass County in December, 94 more than were reported in November.
Cass County’s unemployment hovered around 8.7 percent for 2012, but dropped in the last half of 2013. It’s now lower than the November 2008 rate of 7 percent. In October of that year, the rate was reported at 6.2 percent.
“I do believe from a trend standpoint that anytime you can drop almost a percent from month-to-month, or eight-tenths of a percent, that there’s got to be some substance to that,” Hipskind said.
The statewide unemployment rate has dropped to a seasonally adjusted 6.9 percent, also reaching its lowest level in more than five years. The jobless rate fell four-tenths of a percentage point last month.
The state’s jobless rate has been dropping since the summer after having been long stuck above 8 percent.
Indiana’s unemployment rate is slightly higher than the national rate of 6.7 percent. The new report shows nearly 220,000 people were looking for jobs last month in Indiana.
The jobless rate also dropped in several surrounding counties. Carroll County’s rate was reported at 5.8 percent. White had 6 percent joblessness and Pulaski had 5.4 percent.
DWD reported 6.9 percent unemployment in Fulton and Howard counties. Miami County had the area’s highest jobless rate at 7.8 percent.
All county unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted.
Unemployment by county A look at the unemployment rate percentage in surrounding counties. Cass 6.5 Carroll 5.8 White 6.0 Pulaski 5.4 Fulton 6.9 Miami 7.8 Howard 6.9