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The Journal Gazette

April’s area jobless rate falls to 5%

Region’s numbers lowest in 6 years; beat state’s, nation’s

Area unemployment decreased for the second consecutive month to 5 percent – beating both the state and nation in April.

Metropolitan Fort Wayne, which comprises Allen, Wells and Whitley counties, celebrated its lowest jobless showing in six years in March at 5.7 percent. On Friday, figures from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development showed the downward trend continuing.

The rest of the state had a seasonally adjusted 5.7 percent unemployment rate in April, down from 5.9 percent a month earlier. Nationwide, seasonally adjusted joblessness stood at 6.3 percent last month, compared with 6.7 percent in March.

“April’s job numbers maintained the positive economic trend for 2014 in the Hoosier State,” Scott B. Sanders, commissioner of the Department of Workforce Development, said in a statement.

“Indiana’s unemployment rate continues to drop because more Hoosiers are going back to work as our labor force continues to grow,” he said, “which is not the case with some of our neighboring states or the national trend as a whole.”

Ellen Cutter, director of Community Research Institute at IPFW, said also encouraging is the year-over-year comparison when the unemployment rate was 7.1 percent in April 2013 in metro For Wayne.

“It’s just a continuation of the trend we’ve been seeing for a few months,” she said. “Overall, it’s positive.”

Another positive is a growing labor force that stood at 210,156 – a 3 percent increase from April 2013. Cutter did mention the concern over individuals who have dropped out of the labor force and can’t be counted. In those cases, it would make it difficult to accurately gauge joblessness, she said.

“You always have that to contend with,” Cutter said.

Neighboring states also saw seasonally adjusted unemployment decline in April. Ohio was 5.7 percent, down from 6.1 percent in March; Michigan was 7.4 percent, down from 7.5 percent; Kentucky was 7.7 percent in April, down from 7.9 percent in March; and Illinois was 7.9 percent, down from 8.4 percent.

Unemployment figures in the four Ohio counties bordering northeast Indiana will be released Tuesday.