Over the past three weeks, we started looking at the economic variables associated with Madison County and putting them in perspective by examining numbers related to employment and the labor force, population (demographics and households), welfare, and so on. To wrap this up and see if a blueprint for the future might be a possible thing to draft, here are six of the numbers worth paying attention to that are based on a recent presentation of fifteen at the economic outlook luncheon.
No. 15: The unemployment rate in Madison County is down from what it was last year, but that means very little since the same can be said for 89 of Indiana’s 92 counties. What is more meaningful is that the current unemployment rate is 15 percent higher than that of the state and it has been at, or above, that level for a number of years. Since, theoretically, after continued periods of unemployment those who are in need of work should relocate to where jobs are, this sustained rate above the state average is indicative of structural unemployment. Of all the forms of unemployment that exist, structural is the worst.
No. 14: The state of Indiana is divided into 14 metropolitan statistical areas by the Center for Econometric Model Research. It should come as no surprise that during the past five years nine of those areas – including the one for Anderson/Madison County – had negative employment growth. What should come as a surprise is that only one is projected to continue having that negative employment growth in the coming five years and the loss for the coming period is projected to be more than it was for the previous period.
No. 13: In terms of population, we are the 13th largest county in the state. Overall, the population of the county has not really changed much over the course of several censuses. While the numbers are lower for the city, they are higher for the county and together they stay pretty level just above the 130,000 mark.