By DANIEL SUDDEATH
> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
Floyd and Clark County’s unemployment rates grew last month, yet remained less than state and national jobless marks.
Floyd County’s jobless rate rose to 6.9 percent in October, up from 6.4 percent in September. Clark County’s unemployment rate was also recorded at 6.9 percent last month, up from 6.7 percent in September.
Indiana’s jobless rate dropped from 8.2 percent in September to 8 percent in October, which marked the state’s largest decrease in the unemployment mark since April.
Somewhat surprisingly, job gains in Indiana were driven by the leisure and hospitality sector, which added 5,200 jobs from month-to-month according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics survey. From September to October, the state’s total payrolls grew by about 5,000.
“Manufacturing also bounced back from slower growth and added 3,100 jobs,” said Uric Dufrene, Sanders Chair of the Indiana University Southeast School of Business.
Kentucky lost about 6,600 payroll positions from month-to-month, which was pushed the trade, transportation and utilities sector shedding about 2,000 jobs.
Despite the decrease, Kentucky’s jobless rate didn’t change from month to month, as it remained at 8.4 percent. The national unemployment mark for October was 7.9 percent.
“The report from both states show that job growth remains somewhat sluggish,” Dufrene said. “The decline in Kentucky payrolls shows the cooling, and Indiana’s job growth was boosted by an unusually strong number in leisure and hospitality.”
Leisure and hospitality is typically one of the lowest paid sectors as well, Dufrene continued. He warned the unfavorable report for Kentucky could indicate weaker payroll growth numbers for Louisville when the next metro employment study is released.
Dufrene said there are some positive signs in the sector he labeled the wild card for overall recovery next year.
“Housing continues to put up some impressive numbers, and this will provide a boost to manufacturers in the metro region next year,” he said.
State officials touted that private sector employment in Indiana is now at more than 96 percent of the 2007 prerecession levels.
The Indiana and U.S. unemployment rates were both at least 1 percent lower in October than a year prior. Indiana exceeded the national employment growth average in several sectors last month including manufacturing, construction and trade, transportation and utilities.
“Over the past year Indiana has experienced one of the strongest periods of job growth in over a decade,” said Scott B. Sanders, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. “Since last October we have added nearly 67,000 private sector jobs and continue to significantly outpace the national rate of growth.”