ANDERSON — While the unemployment rate in Indiana continues to trend downward, Madison County — and the city of Anderson in particular — continues to lag behind when it comes to recovering from the pandemic.
Indiana’s unemployment rate stood at 3.9% for March, down 0.1% from February, according to a monthly report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The national rate stood at 6%, down from 6.2% in February.
But according to data from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, in February — the most recent period for which figures are available — Madison County’s unemployment rate stood at 5.6%, which was 10th highest in the state. Anderson’s rate was a full percentage point higher at 6.6%.
“It certainly seems like Anderson is driving the Madison County numbers,” said Rob Sparks, executive director of the Corporation for Economic Development. “Those (numbers) have steadily improved, obviously, but they still remain relatively high in light of the rest of the region and other communities.”
Sparks said that, presumably, the area’s service-related jobs are returning more slowly in comparison with other sectors.
“I think it’s going to be awhile before we get some of those larger market events back, where the hospitality industry can really take advantage of some of the tourism opportunities,” he said.
Sparks also pointed to an imminent global shortage of silicon chips — prompted by pandemic disruptions and production issues at dozens of large factories — as another factor that could soon ripple down to the local business community.
“We’ll see some impact when some of our local companies deal with this,” he said. “But right now, I still think a lot of places are hiring. There are still a lot of opportunities within the county.”