Unemployment rate falls in St. Joseph, Elkhart counties and around Indiana

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By: Jon Zimney jzimney@953mnc.com

The unemployment rate in St. Joseph County was 5 percent in June, falling 1.6 percent from June 2014, according to a new unemployment report from The Department of Workforce Development.

In Elkhart County, the rate is at 3.9 percent, one of the lowest in the state. That’s down from 5.1 percent in June 2014.

The state as a whole dropped to 4.9 percent for the month, according to the report.

Ball State University economist Michael Hicks said that the falling unemployment rate could lead to worker shortages, which means companies may compete for potential employees.

“We are going to hear a lot about worker shortages over the next year as businesses scramble to fill jobs,” Hicks said in a news release.

Wage growth has been minimal in Indiana as the costs of healthcare and other benefits increase, but Hicks said that companies may offer higher wages or better benefits to attract and retain employees.