Indiana’s unemployment rate fell to 8.2 percent in September, the first decline for the rate since April.
The Indiana Department of Workforce Development said Friday morning that the rate decreased from 8.3 percent in August. The rate was 9.2 percent in September 2011.
The rate is higher than the national rate of 7.8 percent but lower than neighboring states except for Ohio, which saw unemployment fall to 7 percent.
Indiana’s jobless rate has been at 8 percent or above in all but two months since December 2008.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Indiana lost 6,000 private sector jobs in September, the first monthly decline after 10 months of gains. Most of the job losses were in professional and business services, private educational and health services, and manufacturing.
Despite the private-sector job losses, the state points to job growth of 43,000 for the year, and a overall job-rate growth of 1.8 percent versus a national average of 1.2 percent.
Meantime, Indiana recorded its first increase in the labor force in seven months.
"I find it particularly encouraging that Hoosiers are returning to the labor force," DWD Commissioner Scott B. Sanders said in a prepared statement.
Statewide non-farm employment in September totaled just under 3.2 million on a seasonally adjusted basis. A total of 237,294 sought unemployment benefits, down from a revised 253,272 in August.
Sectors showing employment gains in September included trade transportation and utilities (900), financial activities (300), and construction (200). Sectors showing the biggest employment loss were professional and business services (-3,300), private educational and health services (-2,600), manufacturing (-1,400), and leisure and hospitality (-200).
In the Indianapolis metro area, the non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate was 7.1 percent in September, down from 8.4 percent in September 2011. However, the area lost jobs, dropping to 891,083 in August from 908,781 a year earlier.
Comparisons of metro areas are more accurately made using the same months in prior years because the government does not adjust the figures for factory furloughs and other seasonal fluctuations.