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Monroe County Sees More Than 1 Percent Jump In Unemployment

Monroe County's unemployment rate normally jumps in the summer, but some say it's still too high.

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Photo: WFIU-WTIU News

Several Bloomington businesses, such as restaurants have fewer customers during the summer and therefore hire fewer people.

New statistics from the state’s Department of Workforce Development show Monroe County’s unemployment rate rose from an estimated 6.6 percent in May to 7.9 percent in June­­.

The state does not provide seasonally-adjusted unemployment numbers at the county level, but Monroe County saw a 0.9 percentage point increase in its unemployment rate at the same time last year.

Director of the Indiana Business Research Center Jerry Conover says the statistics are disappointing, but not surprising.

“A number of students who had been working and other employees, in many cases of the university, leave for the summer, and as a result there are people some of whom are looking for work or their positions went away and they want some summer work. But a lot of those jobs come back in the fall,” he says.

And while the county may return to its rank among the counties with the lowest unemployment rates in the state, Conover says it is still not where many would like to see it.

“The university has grown quite a bit and that spins off lots of jobs, but until we get some good new employers coming to town or substantial expansion of existing employers,  I wouldn’t expect employment climbing rapidly or unemployment dropping rapidly in the immediate term,” he says.

Most of the counties surrounding Monroe County also saw slight increase in their own unemployment rates. Conover says that could be a spillover effect because of the number of people that commute to Bloomington.

Gretchen Frazee

Gretchen Frazee is a reporter/producer for WFIU and WTIU news. Prior to her current role, Frazee worked as the associate online content coordinator for WFIU/WTIU. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia where she studied multimedia journalism and anthropology. You can follow her on Twitter @gretchenfrazee.

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