June Unemployment Inches Higher

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Indiana Department of Workforce Development have released the June 2018 Unemployment Report.  The unemployment rate for Huntington County was reported at 3.8%.  The rate for the previous month was 3.4%.
"We're not seeing significant changes in the data, but this is the third consecutive month the rate has moved higher," said Mark Wickersham, executive director of the Huntington County Economic Development Corporation.  "The summer jobs reports are impacted by seasonal and temporary activities," he added.  "The slightly higher rate in Huntington County is also a result of the transition of manufacturing at UTEC and other layoffs regionally.  While most effected workers found other employment, many are participating in job training programs and will continue to receive unemployment benefits during a significant part of their transition," Wickersham said.
Regionally, the unemployment picture also moved slightly higher, reinforcing the fact that unemployment data is based upon the County of residence, not the County of employment.  "There are well over 3,000 Huntington County residents commuting daily to other Counties in the region.  So while most Huntington County employers have job openings, slow-downs in hiring regionally, also impact the local data," Wickersham added. 
"My biggest concern about the overall jobs picture, is the trade war.  Our local manufacturing community is very reliant on steel and aluminum.  Companies making the raw materials are doing very well at the moment.  And we do produce primary metals in Huntington County.  But we also do a lot of metal fabrication (value added) in Huntington.  The combination of metal fabrication, automotive manufacturing, and soybean farming is critical to Huntington County.  We can't afford to have all three sectors experiencing difficulties simultaneously," Wickersham said.  "Aside from the trade dynamics however, 2018 has been and will hopefully continue to be, among the most robust overall economies we've experienced in a long time," he said.
According to job posting site, indeed.com (at the time of publication) over 100 jobs are immediately available in Huntington, with hundreds more within 25 miles.  "If we could directly fill available jobs with those who are currently unemployed, the local unemployment rate could be as low as 2%," Wickersham concluded.