Northeast Indiana unemployment improves, but not everyone is returning to work

For the first time since the statewide shutdown in April, all counties in Northeast Indiana have seen unemployment drop to below five percent, which is considered full employment, but the rebounding job market isn't an even distribution.

Posted: Nov 25, 2020 8:47 PM
Updated: Nov 26, 2020 8:02 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)  -- For the first time since the statewide shutdown in April, all counties in Northeast Indiana have seen unemployment drop to below five percent, which is considered full employment.

However, Rachel Blakeman, the Director of the Community Research Institute says a rebounding workforce isn’t having the same effect for everyone.

"There's those who are struggling, there are lots of folks struggling. For those who are doing well and their lives have largely returned, that is not a universal experience in this economy," Blakeman explained.

One of those people is Monte Handschy. He says he’s was a mechanic all his life, but now at 62 years old, work is becoming harder.

Handschy explained, "I’m struggling to find time to find a job in this because of the pandemic going on. Employment is getting a little bit harder than it used to be."

Blakeman says for people like Handschy, there are jobs there, which is a good sign, but, it comes with a disclaimer.

"Anyone who wants a job can find a job, but whether it’s the exact job you want, there’s a lot of other things, but you can be employed. That news is tempered by the fact there are fewer people working or looking for work than there was a year ago,” Blakeman explained.

This could be due to retirees deciding to stop working earlier than planned or people who’ve lost their job deciding not to go back to the same job and wait to find something better, but part of this shrinking workforce is because of the situation surrounding schools.

"Schools have been going on and off, in terms of online learning, all semester, I mean since August," Blakeman explained. "So, there may be parents who decided, based on what their own job situations were of sitting out from the workforce."

This means that the demand for food banks and other assistance programs might continue to grow while some other people get their jobs back, but people like Handschy might not get their top choice job as COVID-19’s second wave impacts the area.

"I guess kind of at this point, you know, beggars can’t be choosers, so I guess I would be open to other things," Handschy said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 613228

Reported Deaths: 9728
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion846851338
Lake45676687
Allen32980552
Hamilton29649315
St. Joseph27531382
Elkhart24478345
Vanderburgh19610250
Tippecanoe18108141
Johnson15191295
Porter14944169
Hendricks14485250
Madison11044222
Clark10811144
Vigo10795181
Monroe9458113
Delaware9170134
LaPorte9145164
Howard8292144
Kosciusko810183
Warrick680299
Hancock6782104
Bartholomew6640100
Floyd6507110
Wayne6177162
Grant6027116
Dubois558680
Boone556468
Morgan548695
Henry511464
Marshall506984
Cass486964
Dearborn486545
Noble475659
Jackson427747
Shelby420781
Lawrence393780
Clinton375044
Gibson374459
Harrison353045
DeKalb349864
Montgomery347654
Knox336239
Miami324544
Steuben315046
Whitley311126
Wabash305851
Adams302836
Ripley300546
Putnam298950
Huntington294860
Jasper291734
White275143
Daviess271774
Jefferson266238
Decatur249583
Fayette248648
Greene242262
Posey241028
Wells236951
LaGrange230062
Scott226839
Clay224332
Randolph215248
Jennings200636
Sullivan193533
Spencer193022
Washington188023
Fountain184927
Starke176444
Jay168623
Owen167637
Fulton164830
Orange160935
Carroll159715
Rush156318
Perry155929
Vermillion149734
Franklin149333
Tipton133133
Parke13088
Pike118526
Blackford111822
Pulaski97837
Newton92021
Brown88335
Benton87110
Crawford8099
Martin74913
Warren6857
Switzerland6695
Union6297
Ohio4977
Unassigned0376

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 868656

Reported Deaths: 10768
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin102154707
Cuyahoga865201153
Hamilton64744448
Montgomery43516419
Summit35250762
Lucas31663631
Butler31268232
Stark26096443
Warren19830142
Lorain19296229
Mahoning17471339
Lake16250154
Clermont16128112
Delaware1453680
Licking13326137
Fairfield1294981
Trumbull12920317
Greene12174141
Medina11732168
Clark11058265
Wood10457158
Allen9988127
Portage9454111
Miami924473
Richland9236118
Marion7486113
Tuscarawas7440183
Columbiana7409124
Pickaway732150
Wayne7111172
Muskingum710342
Erie6221130
Ross5558100
Hancock555292
Scioto542764
Geauga515955
Darke473492
Lawrence460658
Union456928
Ashtabula456473
Sandusky439562
Mercer435089
Seneca433866
Huron432841
Auglaize424164
Shelby422522
Jefferson422469
Belmont421145
Washington394240
Athens38389
Putnam378075
Madison358129
Knox356122
Ashland349038
Fulton340443
Defiance334486
Crawford325774
Preble322737
Brown315821
Logan312132
Ottawa296543
Clinton291543
Williams280367
Highland279018
Jackson265845
Guernsey257126
Champaign253428
Fayette239530
Morrow23464
Perry233718
Holmes226774
Henry221953
Hardin215533
Coshocton206922
Van Wert203445
Gallia199826
Wyandot196751
Pike178017
Adams177715
Hocking173224
Carroll157616
Paulding145321
Noble121040
Meigs109724
Monroe102232
Harrison89921
Morgan83931
Vinton71314
Unassigned00
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