The unemployment rate for the state and for individual counties was released this week.
The rate in Starke County dropped a point, according to the April statistics. The rate is 6.9 percent which is a 1.3 percent decrease. Starke County still ranks in the top ten in unemployment. All 92 counties reported a decrease in the unemployment rate.
Ron Gifford from the Starke County Economic Development Foundation said the way in which the rates are determined is quite complicated, but it boils down to three different types of workers: those who are employed, those who are unemployed and those who are in the labor force.
Gifford breaks down how the rate is figured for employed people.
“You are employed for purposes of this rate if you did any work for pay or profit during one week in that month. That would include anybody who did at least 15 hours of unpaid work in a family-owned business. It also includes all persons temporarily absent from their regular jobs because of vacation, bad weather or labor disputes,” said Gifford.
He explained that an unemployed person didn’t have any job that specific week but made an effort to find a job during the prior four weeks and that person was available for work. If you are on lay off, you are an unemployed person.
“What this means is your labor force is determined by how many people are actually out there actively seeking employment and going through, in Indiana’s case, the Workforce Development office. If you have used up all of your benefits through that office and you’re no longer out there trying to find work, you’re not in the labor force even though you’re out there.”
To calculate the rate, the number of people they say is unemployed is taken and divided by whatever number they say the labor force is. As the labor force goes up and down, it affects the unemployment rate.
In addition, Gifford said that it appears that business is picking up in Starke County. More businesses are looking for help. Industry leaders are looking in the county for expansion and the work that is being done in the industrial park in Knox is helping entice those leaders in deciding to settle in Starke County.
The road improvement project on 300 East is going to be a big selling point with the ease of truck movements and traffic. Plus, the timber project will open up green space for development and possibly a shell building.