Allen County and the state as a whole had a surge in unemployment rates in January.
Figures released Monday by the state Department of Workforce Development show that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the state increased to 8.6 percent, up from 8.3 percent in December.
The actual rates look worse when they're not adjusted to reflect seasonal variations in employment. Allen County's nonadjusted rate was 9.1 percent in January, up from 7.9 percent in December and 7.4 percent in November. The state's nonadjusted unemployment rate was 9.6 percent last month.
Nonadjusted unemployment rates rose significantly across northeast Indiana in January, when unemployment rates in counties adjoining Allen ranged from 8.6 percent in Wells County, which often has the region's lowest unemployment rate, to 10.4 percent in Noble County.
Although the unemployment rate is higher, state officials say the bad news obscures a significant improvement. The state labor force increased by 14,000 in January, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated includes 10,000 returning to the labor force and seeking jobs.
State officials point out that Indiana added 8,200 private-sector jobs in January, marking the 19th consecutive month of job growth. Scott Sanders, commissioner of the Department of Workforce Development, acknowledged that it's hard to reconcile the rising unemployment rate with the steady increase in jobs.
“It's quite encouraging Indiana seems to be continuing the trend of private sector job growth into 2013,” Sanders said in a news release announcing the latest figures on unemployment. “However, it is very confusing when (Bureau of Labor Statistics) has survey data from 5,000 businesses showing continued increases in employment, while the household survey continues to show employment below what businesses are reporting.”