Business and Economics

Pelath Says Drop In Unemployment Not All Positive

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March 17, 2014 — One local legislator is cautioning positive reactions to Indiana’s latest unemployment figures.

Indiana House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath from Michigan City today issued the following statement upon receiving word of the state’s unemployment figures for January 2014:

“While others may gush about ‘the largest one-month drop in unemployment in 20 years,’ I look at the report and find myself wondering many things:

In December 2013, the number of Hoosiers who were employed is listed at 2,960,003 and the numbers of unemployed are 200,694.

In January 2014, the numbers of employed Hoosiers are listed at 2,950,298, and the numbers of unemployed at 209,305.

Now, I wasn’t the best math student in school, but those numbers show a decrease in the number of employed Hoosiers of 9,705. Just as important, the number of unemployed Hoosiers…you know, the ones who don’t have jobs…rose by 8,611.

If you look at the 14 Metropolitan Statistical Areas included in the report, all but one saw an increase in numbers of unemployed. Only one MSA (Elkhart/Goshen) went down.

Finally, 82 of Indiana’s 92 counties saw their unemployment rates increase from December to January.

These disparities only serve to heighten the concern that many of us have about the so-called ‘job creation’ engine that the governor, his administration, and his super-majorities like to tout so often. What is so worrisome is that we may talk about unemployment percentages going down, but they are not going down as much as the continued 10-year decline in the household incomes of Hoosiers.

People can talk about seasonal adjustments all they want, but I continue to be concerned about the raw employment and unemployment numbers. Those tell me who has a job and who is able to take care of their family.

And if we’re talking about ‘the largest one-month drop in unemployment in 20 years,’ take the time to go back 20 and a half years when the rate dropped from 6 percent in June 1993 to 3.9 percent in July 1993. Now that’s the kind of drop we could afford to repeat.”


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