Howard County, once again, leads the state in unemployment rate.
According to figures released this week by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, the county’s June non-seasonally adjusted unemployment was 9.4%, the highest in the state for the month. That’s one and a half percentage points higher than the second-highest county, Lake County, which has a reported June unemployment rate of 7.9%.
Miami and Tipton counties’ February unemployment rate were 6.1% (fourth highest) and 4.7% (25th highest), respectively.
Unsurprisingly, those in the manufacturing industry continue to be the majority of those currently collecting unemployment, as the industry is still facing headwinds due to the semiconductor chip shortage caused by manufacturers severely cutting production due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the DWD, 1,163 people in that industry — and a total of 1,616 county residents — were receiving unemployment as of July 3, the latest figures available. In early June, the number of county workers receiving unemployment was higher, at 2,135.
The number of initial claims, or new unemployment filings each week, has fluctuated between as low as 110 on June 26 to as high as 690 on July 10, with “unclassified” employees (333) making up a bulk of new unemployment claims, followed by manufacturing at 101.
The county’s unemployment rate is still better than what was seen this time last year, when it was 15.2% in June 2020.
The area’s labor workforce as of June 2021, though, is slightly down from last year but slightly up from last month.
According to the DWD, the Kokomo Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Howard County, had a total labor force of 36,662 in June 2021. Comparatively, the area’s labor force was 38,034 in June 2020 and 35,781 in May 2021.
The state’s June 2021 seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 4.1%. Nationally, the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for June is 5.9%.
Howard County has consistently been in the state’s top 10 in unemployment rate for the past year, topping the chart occasionally — especially early in the pandemic and this past February.