Even with the economy slowly starting to stabilize, unemployment rates continue to remain at high levels.
As a whole, the state's non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has dropped from 11.5 percent in January 2010 to 9.4 percent in February 2011, while in Clay County, the rate has varied. The highest rate the state has seen came in January 1983, when it was 13.5 percent.
The county's rate was 11.5 percent and dropped to 9.8 in May 2010 before jumping up to 12 percent in July 2010.
"It is almost always the case for unemployment to be up in January and February of any given year because outside work, like agriculture and construction, slows down because of the weather," Indiana Department of Workforce Development Communications Director Valerie Kroeger told The Brazil Times.
However, Kroeger added the jump in the county's rate in July 2010 could most likely be correlated to the increase in the labor force, which went up to 12,858, compared to 12,566 in May 2010.
"There tends to be a spike in the labor force shortly after the school year ends and graduates enter the workforce," she said. "Also, with schools out for summer, there is the potential for other workers, like bus drivers and those in the school cafeterias to file for unemployment during the down time."
Although she could not confirm the information, Kroeger said there may have also been an employer in the area going through a hiring blitz.
"Whenever a new business comes to an area or expands, people who may have left have a tendency to return with the potential of a new, well-paying job, which can increase the workforce," Kroeger said.
However, the labor force and unemployment dropped only a month later as there were 12,461 potential workers in Clay County, with a rate of 9.9 percent in August 2010. From July-August 2010, the number went from 1,544 down to 1,231.
Clay County's unemployment rate remained less than 10 percent through November, falling as low as 9.4 percent in October 2010, before increasing as winter set in. The rate was 10.4 percent in December 2010, and has risen to a preliminary figure of 11.8 percent in February 2011, which was the highest in the past 14 months.
The county's labor force has also seen a slight boost since August 2010, as there were 12,633 potential workers in February.
On the state level, the labor force has dropped during the past 14 months, starting at 3,119,148 in January 2010, and was 3,083,282 in February 2011, which was the lowest during that time.
For February, Clay County had the 15th-highest unemployment rate in the state, while Daviess County had the lowest at 5.7 percent. Vermillion County had the highest rate at 13.7 percent, while Putnam County (eighth highest - 12.3 percent) also had a higher rate than Clay County in the Wabash Valley. Among the surrounding counties, Greene County had the lowest rate at 9.6 percent.
In addition, when adjusting the rate for seasonal work, the state's unemployment was at 8.8 percent, which was the first time since December 2008 its rate was below 9 percent, and slightly lower than the nation's rate of 8.9 percent.
Kroeger told The Brazil Times no seasonally adjusted rates are computed on the county level due to the population.
"Seasonally adjusted rates are only made available for the state and federal level because the population size is not large enough on the county and local levels," she said.
Indiana's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in February ranked 25th in the nation, while Nevada had the highest at 13.6 percent and North Dakota (3.7 percent) had the lowest.
State and county unemployment rates
The following tables display the most recently updated statistics regarding the labor force, unemployment and unemployment rates (not seasonally adjusted) for the State of Indiana and Clay County from January 2010 through February 2011:
Note: February 2011 figures are considered preliminary.