ELKHART — The good news is that Elkhart County’s estimated unemployment rate dropped significantly between July’s 8.5 percent and August’s 7.7 percent.
The bad news is that the drop came alongside a drop in the number of jobs in Elkhart County in August, according to numbers released Friday, Sept. 20, by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The government estimates show about 500 fewer people had jobs in Elkhart County in August than in July, but the unemployment rate dropped due to a decrease of 1,310 people in the estimated labor force.
Over the last year, Elkhart County’s unemployment rate dropped from 9.3 percent in August 2012, but in that time period the estimated number of employed workers rose by only 658, while the available labor force dropped by 938.
Statewide, the non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 7.5 percent in August from 8.3 percent in July. Indiana saw an increase in the number of people employed in August compared to July, though it also saw a drop in the estimated available labor force.
Manufacturing jobs grew by 3,000 between July and August, according to the state, but overall private-sector employment dropped by 2,900 jobs with other sectors seeing drops.
Initial claims for unemployment this year are still at their lowest since 2000, according to the state.
“The significant decrease in Indiana’s unemployment rate in August is definitely encouraging, but the fact is too many Hoosiers are still unemployed,” said Scott Sanders, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, in the written announcement. “This underscores the need to bring unemployed individuals into WorkOne following their fourth week of receiving benefits. It is vital we get folks on the path to reemployment as soon as possible.”
Neighboring Kosciusko and LaGrange counties saw some of the best unemployment rates in the state, with Kosciusko at 6.1 percent and LaGrange at 6.2 percent.
Neighboring Marshall County dropped from July’s 8.3 percent to 7.7 percent unemployment in August, while St. Joseph County dropped from 9.8 percent in July to 9.0 percent in August.