Latest jobless report spurs more questions than answers

March 28, 2014 Scott Pelath

For immediate release:
March 28, 2014


INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath from Michigan City today issued the following statement on the February 2014 unemployment figures:

“I know there’s a temptation to glance at the narrative offered by the Department of Workforce Development and simply assume all is wonderful in Indiana, rather than turn into a stats geek and glimpse at the pages of numbers that follow, but I would ask that folks do take the time and consider some of what we have seen.

“For example, it is interesting to note that while the report says the number of employed people rose from January to February (2,951,000 to 2,961,746), it also says that the number of unemployed people rose during the same time frame (206,656 in January to 218,567 in February). That means 10,746 people became employed, while 11,911 became unemployed. Again, math isn’t my best subject, but I’m not sure you should be engaged in a lot of boundless, sunny optimism when more people lose jobs than get them.

“I also will note that all but one of the 14 Metropolitan Statistical Areas saw unemployment rates go up from January to February. Further, of Indiana’s 92 counties, the unemployment rates in 87 of them went up from January to February, while three (Benton, Elkhart and Rush) stayed the same and two (Franklin and Wayne) went down.

“Beyond those numbers, I also will note that health services was one of the sectors that has shown a significant decline in employment over the past two months. These are usually the kind of highly-skilled, well-paying jobs that we need to be attracting in Indiana, and one cannot help but wonder what might have happened if our leaders had been more avid in pursuing options that might have proven to improve our employment picture and improve the healthcare opportunities afforded Hoosier families.

“When you end up with more questions than answers, then I think we need to curb the happy talk.”