High unemployment figures in Miami and Tipton counties may be a direct result of jobs being lost in Howard County. That’s the sentiment of Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight, who acknowledges his city is a commuter hub for residents of many surrounding towns, primarily because of the city’s large number of automotive jobs. Goodnight said he feels an added burden when he considers his city’s unemployment rate is 9.9 percent and Miami and Tipton counties each sport figures greater than ten percent. Goodnight said the direction of commuter traffic points the same way as the finger of responsibility for economic prosperity in the region.
“The unemployment numbers in those communities,” Goodnight said, “are probably tied to Kokomo’s economy more so than Kokomo’s unemployment figures are tied to their communities.”
Speaking on WFIU’s “Ask the Mayor,” Goodnight said he can’t say for sure if some of the jobs lost at Chrysler plants in the city will ever be replenished. When asked how much of Indiana’s estimated $3 billion gain from President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plan Kokomo could use, Goodnight joked, “About $2.99 billion.”