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Job seekers line up to talk to recruiters during a job fair last month in Atlanta. In Indiana, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell in May, but it rose slightly in the Fort Wayne area.

Jobless rate up slightly in region

Remains below 8 percent figure from a year ago

The Journal Gazette

Unemployment in metro Fort Wayne inched up a bit in May.

The region had more people out of work as the jobless rate increased to 7.7 percent from 7.6 percent in April, according to preliminary figures the Indiana Department of Workforce Development released Friday.

A year ago May, unemployment was 8 percent, so the area’s rate is still an improvement since then. The Fort Wayne metropolitan statistical area is composed of Allen, Whitley and Wells counties.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in May declined to 8.3 percent from 8.5 percent in April. It was also 8.3 percent a year ago in May.

“May was quite a positive month for job growth in the Hoosier State,” Scott Sanders, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, said in a statement.

“Most tangible employment measures seem to be trending in the right direction for the moment, which is cause for cautious optimism.”

Tell that to folks in Huntington who learned Friday that 140 people will lose their jobs at a local ice cream factory.

Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based Unilever on Friday announced it will close its Good Humor-Breyers plant by the end of July.

Jobs expert Jennifer Winkeljohn said while the loss is a devastating blow, there are opportunities for general labor workers this summer.

“It’s never a good time to lose a job, but this is a peak time for a lot of manufacturers,” said Winkeljohn, division director for Robert Half International in Fort Wayne, a specialized staffing agency. “I’m constantly being told by companies that they need workers.”

Regionally, May seasonally adjusted unemployment in Michigan and Ohio remained unchanged from a month earlier at 8.4 percent and 7 percent, respectively.

Illinois had the area’s highest jobless rate, 9.1 percent, down from 9.3 percent in April. Unemployment rose in Kentucky to 8.1 percent in May, compared with 7.9 percent a month earlier.

Jobless figures in the four Ohio counties bordering northeast Indiana – Defiance, Paulding, Van Wert and Williams – will be released Tuesday.

pwyche@jg.net

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