County unemployment numbers for April seemed to indicate that the Kokomo area became Indiana’s most unemployed region almost overnight. There may not be an employment crisis, but instead a statistical anomaly.
When Kokomo’s Deputy Mayor David Tharp first heard the town’s unemployment rate rose 2.5% in one month, he was pretty confused. In fact, he says Kokomo’s economy has been going “gangbusters.”
“It was a bit of a surprise that, out of nowhere, Howard County had the highest unemployment in the state,” Tharp says. “So that's what made this seem like an anomaly.”
The timing of two temporary layoffs at a local Chrysler transmission plant might be to blame. Although they only lasted one week, they occurred right during the time period the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses to calculate unemployment for the month. So even though the number they calculated seems alarming, Tharp says there’s no crisis for now.
“It’s something to keep an eye on, but it’s nice knowing it’s not part of a larger systematic trend," he says. "[It's] a little bit of a relief, yeah.”