National Unemployment Rate Drops Despite Weak Jobs Report for March

by rgifford Fri, April 05 2013 17:48

The Labor Department reported this morning that there was an increase of only 88,000 jobs in March, which compared unfavorably with the 268,000 jobs created in February.  Despite this news, the national unemployment rate actually decreased, from 7.7% in February to 7.6% in March.  That rate is obtained from a different survey than the jobs report, and most analysts say that the rate only went down because the number of people active in the labor force, either working or looking for work went down, and not because more unemployed people obtained jobs.  On the good news front, this did mark the 30th consecutive month that the United States economy added jobs.

Starke County Unemployment Rate Shows Modest Improvement in Febuary

by rgifford Fri, March 29 2013 19:29

The unemployment rate for Starke County is reported to be 12.3% for the month of February, according to figures released this morning by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD).  This is a decrease from the 12.4% revised rate for the month of January, but still leaves the County at its highest rate of unemployment since the same month last year.

The State of Indiana saw an increase in its rate from 8.6% up to 8.7%, due to an increase in the labor force of 7500 individuals, of which 3800 were unemployed persons who have returned to looking for a job.  Indiana did record an increase of 5800 new jobs for the month.  Ohio at 8.0% and Kentucky at 7.9% have lower rates than Indiana, while Michigan at 8.8% and Illinois at 9.5% have higher rates.

The United States as a whole has an unemployment rate of 7.7%, down from 7.9% in January.

State and County Unemployment Rates Rise in January

by rgifford Mon, March 18 2013 22:43

The first monthly report on unemployment for 2013 was released this morning by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD).  That report showed that the State of Indiana experienced an increase of .3% from the December report, as only 8,200 private jobs were added state-wide in January.  Although this marked the 19th consecutive month of job growth, the rate increased on the strength of 14,000 individuals being added to the labor force, of which more than 10,000 were returning unemployed persons now once again looking for work.  All 92 Indiana counties experienced a negative change in their own unemployment rate, which topped the previous month when 91 counties saw their rate increase from the previous month.

Starke County remained for the third consecutive month as the 6th highest Indiana county with regards to unemployment rate with a 1.7% increase, going from 10.8% in December to 12.5% in January.  For the County, the labor force increased by 162 persons, which just about matched the increase in the number of unemployed persons, which was 185.  The amount of employed persons in the County decreased by only 22 persons.

As far as neighboring states are concerned, Michigan at 8.9% and Illinois at 9.0% remained higher than Indiana, while Kentucky at 7.9% and Ohio at 7.0% are still lower than Indiana.

National Unemployment Rate Drops in February

by rgifford Fri, March 08 2013 18:17

The unemployment rate in the United States fell from 7.9% to 7.7% in February, according to a release this morning from the US Department of Labor.  This marks the lowest rate since December of 2008 and exceeded economists' estimates for the month.

A total of 236,000 jobs were added during the month, exceeding estimates of about 165,000 jobs.

The Indiana jobs report is not due out until March 29.

Former SCEDF President Gene Blastic Dies

by rgifford Mon, February 11 2013 17:07

Long-time Board member and former President of the Starke County Economic Development Foundation Joseph Eugene (Gene) Blastic passed away last Friday night after a battle with cancer.  Blastic had just been honored less than a month ago as the recipient of the Henry F. Schricker Award by the Starke County Chamber of Commerce for his "service before self" attitude and community service.

Blastic served as President of the Foundation for two years and was a member of the Board for 12 years. In addition to his service with the Foundation, Blastic also was active with Starke United, the Starke County Chamber of Commerce, Starke County Right to Life, and many other organizations.  He was nominated as a volunteer of the year for Starke United in 2003, and was also recognized as the Older Hoosier of the Year in 2009 by Community Services of Starke County for his service to improve the quality of life in Starke County.

Gene Blastic was a graduate of Rose Hulman Institute of Technology with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He worked in Engineering & Management at Western Electric Company of the Bell System; and is a previous owner and President of a residential home construction company in the Detroit, Michigan area.

National Unemployment Rate Edges Up

by rgifford Fri, February 01 2013 17:12

The Labor Department released its jobs report for the month of January this morning.  Although American employers added 157,000 jobs during the month, which was about what economists had forecast, the national unemployment rate increased from 7.8% in December to 7.9% in January.  The Department also revised its December jobs number to 196,000 jobs.  Nationally there still remains 12.3 million idle workers.

National Unemployment Rate Unchanged for December

by rgifford Mon, January 14 2013 21:07

The United States unemployment rate was reported to be 7.8% in December, the same as the revised rate for November.  155,000 jobs were added in December.

State Unemployment Rate Holds Steady For November; Starke County Rate Up for Same Month

by rgifford Mon, January 14 2013 20:58

Indiana's unemployment rate for November, 2012 held at 8.0%, despite a private sector loss of 9800 jobs, attributed mostly due to losses in the seasonal nature of construction jobs.  Indiana continues to have the second lowest unemployment rate when compared to the states that it is contiguous to.  Ohio is lowest at 6.8%, followed by Indiana, with Kentucky at 8.2%, Illinois at 8.7%, and Michigan at 8.9%.

While the state rate was unchanged, Starke County saw its rate go upwards a full percentage point to 9.9%, the same rate that was recorded in July of this year, but still lower than the 11.7% rate for January, 2012.  Most counties in the state of Indiana saw large increases in their unemployment rate from that reported in October.

Nancy Dembowski Honored by Foundation with Robert E. Hamilton Award

by rgifford Mon, December 10 2012 17:12

The Starke County Economic Development Foundation played host to a “Prospectus and Achievements Night” on December 5, 2012, which event included the honoring of three companies who opened operations in Starke County during the past year (Kemin Industries, Inc., Chester, Inc., Ag Services Division, and Selected Furniture, LLC) and two companies who announced plans to expand operations in the county (American Oak Preserving Company, Inc., and Knox Fertilizer, Inc.).  In addition, Charles W. Weaver, Executive Director, gave a report on the economic development highlights of 2012 and what might be expected in 2013 for Starke County. His report also detailed what is necessary to be done in the County for the Foundation’s efforts to be successful.

The night culminated with the awarding of the Robert E. Hamilton Award, named in honor of the now deceased banker widely believed to be the leading force for the creation of the Foundation. This Award was established by action of the Foundation’s Board of Directors and first announced at the 25th Anniversary of the founding of SCEDF and was awarded for the first time last November to Jack Lynch and Mathew Swanson.  It is awarded to a person who has contributed a great amount of service in the field of economic development as well as the community as a whole. 

This year’s recipient of the award was retiring State Representative Nancy J. Dembowski.  Nancy Dembowski has established a record of public service that is second to none.  After working at WKVI Radio in Knox for 25 years, Nancy made her entry into elected public service.  Over the following 26 years, Nancy served as an elected official in several positions, including the Starke County Council for 7 years, Mayor of the City of Knox for 11 years, State Senator for 2 years, and State Representative for 6 years, choosing not to run again in the most recent election. She not only served the citizens of Starke County and the City of Knox admirably during that time, but her terms in office were terms of accomplishments that have stood the test of time already.  While a County Councilperson and while running for Mayor for her first term, Nancy made the motion to enact the County Economic Development Tax, which has been instrumental in bringing jobs to Starke County, as well as helping fund  needed economic development activities as well.  In making that vote, Nancy commented that while it might not help her win her race for Mayor, it was the right thing to do for the County.


While Mayor, Nancy was instrumental in seeing to the construction of a community center which was just recently renamed by the City of Knox as the “Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center” as a tribute to her leadership on that project.   Its use over the years to host many events of every kind has proven to be a wise and visionary decision. Nancy served admirably in the Indiana Legislature as well, always spending time with her constituents wherever they might be located and however they might be helped.  She topped off her final year in office as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention this past summer. 


In addition to her record as an elected official, Nancy has also been instrumental in serving with a number of different organizations, and continues to this date to do that.  When she sees a need, she is one of the first to volunteer her time and efforts to make her community a better place.  Among the groups she has served on are Starke United, Starke County Junior Achievement, and the Chamber of Commerce.  Nancy has also served on the Knox High School Improvement Plan Committee, the Harvest Festival Committee, and the Starke County WorkOne Advisory Board.  She also founded the Candy Cane Committee, and served as a member of the Starke County Coalition Against Domestic Abuse, where she helped plan for the building of the Phoenix House. 


The founders of the Foundation saw fit to extend Nancy an invitation to be a member of that Board way back in 1986, one year after the formal birth of the Foundation.  Nancy has remained as a member of that Board continuously and now holds the record for the most years served as a Board member.  She has served as Vice President of the Foundation as well as numerous committees, and even though she was busy in the legislature for many of those years, she faithfully filled her time on the board as an active member.  She has been instrumental on more than one occasion in helping guide needed economic development legislation through that process, and has always kept the Foundation well-advised of legislation that might affect economic development efforts.    

National Unemployment Rate Drops in November

by rgifford Mon, December 10 2012 17:07

A higher than expected additional 146,000 jobs were added in the United States during November, leading to a decline in the national unemployment rate from 7.9% to 7.7%.  However, it should be noted that many of these new jobs are thought to be seasonal, and there was also a large decline in the number of persons still actively seeking employment, a prerequisite to being counted when the determination of the unemployment rate is made.

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Creating Opportunities ... Delivering On Promises

"The first thing we have to do is prove we’re credible and then deliver results. We have done that. Give us a task and we’ll get the job done." Charles Weaver, Executive Director

Starke County location and logistics create opportunities:

  • A 90-minute drive to downtown Chicago
  • In the heart of Indiana, the "Crossroads of America"
  • Midway between the east coast and the Rocky Mountains
  • In the NAFTA Super Highway corridor
  • One day’s drive within one-third of the population of the United States
  • Excellent service from class-one and short line railroads

The Starke County Economic Development Foundation delivers on our promises to make your move here easier than you ever thought possible. We have:

  • Built and leased back spec buildings
  • Constructed lead track and rail spurs
  • Installed water tower, water mains, and sewer infrastructure
  • Upgraded highway interchanges
  • Continue to assemble land for development

The Foundation has built a reputation as the LEDO that partners with you to get the job done.

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