Indiana Employment Snapshot

  • Three counties found themselves with double-digit unemployment rates in January. Fayette (11.1%), Orange (10.8%) and Fulton (10.0%) were the counties with the state's highest unemployment rates.
  • Hamilton County continues to have the lowest unemployment rate in the state, just 2.5% in January. Next lowest were Decatur (3.2%), Boone (3.3%) and Johnson (3.4%).
  • Among metro counties, Lake County at 7.6% suffered the largest annual point rise in unemployment rate, up 3.3 percentage points over January 2001. The Marion County rate rose 2.1 points to 4.7% from January 2001 to January 2002.
  • Howard County had the best year-to-year result, actually dropping its January rate by 1.9 points to 6.5%
  • Greene, Perry, Tipton and Sullivan counties also had lower unemployment in January 2002 than in January 2001.
  • In nearly 40% of Indiana's 92 counties, the total number of people employed in January 2002 was within 1% of the number employed in 2001. A drop of more than 4% occurred in only 13 counties.

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Figure 1: January 2002 Unemployment Rates by County

Metro Area Employment at a Glance

Metro Area Employment

A single month of unemployment data is not a reliable indicator of a trend, but data from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development for January 2002 show the following:

  • The unemployment rate rose in January 2002 compared to January 2001 in nine of the 12 Indiana metro areas.
  • The largest increases over January 2001 occurred in Gary, where the rate jumped 2.4 percentage points to 7.2%, and in South Bend, up 1.4 points to 5.5%.
  • The unemployment rate fell dramatically to 6.3% in Kokomo. One year ago Kokomo's rate stood at 9.5%. Bloomington and Terre Haute each posted a decline of 0.4 percentage points in January over its year-earlier rate.
  • Despite increases in the unemployment rate, the number of people employed in January actually climbed in all but two metro areas. Every metro area except Gary and South Bend found more people employed in January 2002 than in the same month in 2001. Even though the number of people with jobs increased, an expanding labor force in many areas caused the rate of unemployment to rise.
  • Unemployment remains a bigger problem in Indiana's rural areas.
    • In January, eight of the 12 metro employment areas registered unemployment rates approximately equal to or lower the state average.
    • The average unemployment rate in all Indiana's metro areas in January was 5.35%, compared to a state average of 5.5%.
    • The average January unemployment rate in non-metro counties was 6.6%.