Indiana’s unemployment rate jumps to 8.6 percent

March 18, 2013

Indiana’s unemployment rate rose 0.3 of a percentage point, to 8.6 percent, in January, even though the state added 8,200 private-sector jobs during the month.

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development said Monday morning that the rate increased from a revised 8.3 percent in January, as more than 10,000 unemployed Hoosiers returned to the labor force to search for work.

Indiana’s unemployment rate hasn’t jumped that much in nearly four years, when it climbed to 10.6 percent in April 2009 from 10.2 percent the previous month.

Still, January’s job growth marked the 19th consecutive month that Indiana has added jobs, DWD Commissioner Scott B. Sanders said in a prepared statement.

“It’s quite encouraging Indiana seems to be continuing the trend of private-sector job growth into 2013,” he said. “However, it is very confusing when [Bureau of Labor Statistics] has survey data from 5,000 businesses showing continued increases in employment, while the household survey continues to show employment below what businesses are reporting.”

The state’s January rate was considerably higher than the national rate of 7.9 percent. In the Midwest, it was higher than the rate in Kentucky (7.9 percent) and Ohio (7 percent), but lower than Illinois (9 percent) and Michigan (8.9 percent).

Indiana’s jobless rate has been at 8 percent or above in all but two months since December 2008.

Sectors showing gains in January were professional and business services (5,700), and leisure and hospitality (2,200).

The financial activities industry lost 1,000 jobs, while the construction sector shed 900 jobs, the state said.

Statewide non-farm employment in January totaled 3.1 million on a seasonally adjusted basis. A total of 301,622 people sought unemployment benefits, up from a revised 266,285 in December.

In the Indianapolis metro area, the non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate was 8.7 percent in January, up from 8.3 percent in January 2012. The area gained jobs, increasing to 824,185 in January from 818,465 a year earlier. But the number of unemployed rose to 78,648, up from 74,534 in January 2012.

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.

The state is set to announce February’s unemployment rate March 29.

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