Tim Vandenack
Tim Vandenack
In Indiana Buzz, reporter Tim Vandenack blogs on politics, immigration, elections, taxes, errant geese and more.

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The economy's not back yet — 10k fewer Elkhart County residents working compared to 2006

The unemployment rate is down, for sure, but that only tells part of the story.

Posted on June 19, 2014 at 8:51 p.m.

Thursday June 19, 2014

Things are better in Elkhart County, economically.

No question.

The current unemployment rate, 5.8 percent averaged over the first four months of 2014, is down from the 2009 peak of 17.9 percent. Many companies are hiring, a far cry from the depths of the Great Recession.

Still, it’s not like it used to be and there’s plenty of room for improvement.

Digging deeper into the data shows that the number of people with jobs, 89,057, on average in the first four months of 2014, lags the peak figure of 99,513 in 2006 by more than 10,000. That is, 10,000-plus fewer people in Elkhart County are working and earning money than before, which has clear repercussions on the well-being of many, many families here.

The only reason the unemployment rate has dipped as it has in recent months is because the labor force has dropped as people have stopped looking for work. The unemployment rate reflects the number of people in the labor force without jobs divided by the labor force (not the overall county population).

Take a look at the graphics below for details.

The five-year anniversary of the formal end of the Great Recession, which ran from December 2007 through June 2009, is upon us and we at The Elkhart Truth are working on a package of stories looking back. Consider this a sneak peak.


Follow reporter Tim Vandenack on Twitter at @timvandenack or visit him on Facebook.


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