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Indiana unemployment rate shrinks to 7.9 percent

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Indiana added 15,400 private-sector jobs last month, helping the state’s unemployment drop fall to its lowest rate since late 2008.

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development said Friday morning that unemployment fell to 7.9 percent in April, down from 8.2 percent the previous month.

The 15,400 jobs added in April marked the fourth-largest one-month increase since 1990, the DWD said.

Indiana led the nation in March-to-April job growth in terms of sheer numbers and ranked third in percentage increase. The state’s 0.6-percent job-growth percentage was six times the national average of 0.1 percent last month. The 15,400 jobs accounted for roughly 12 percent of the nation’s increase.

Indiana’s unemployment rate has not been below 8 percent since November 2008. The U.S. jobless rate in April was 8.1 percent.

“The Hoosier state has not seen economic growth on this level in a generation,” DWD Commissioner Scott B. Sanders said in a prepared statement.

Sanders said Indiana has added 36,500 jobs this year, the most in a four-month period since late 1998.

The state’s unemployment rate is falling as a state leading economic index is rising, pointing to an improving economy.

The Leading Index for Indiana, as measured by Indiana University, is climbing back toward pre-recession levels and is at its highest mark since August 2008.

Still, Timothy Slaper, director of economic analysis at IU’s Business Research Center, said economic signs are far from perfect.

“Overall, the picture looks rosier for Indiana’s economy, but would not warrant saying that the Hoosier economy is poised for breathtaking growth in the coming months,” he said. “The forecast for the remainder of the year continues what has become the mantra of positive, but sluggish, economic growth. The sustained slow recovery will be devoid of strong surges in personal income or payroll employment."

Statewide non-farm employment in April totaled 2.9 million on a seasonally adjusted basis. A total of 246,258 Hoosiers sought unemployment benefits in April, down from 274,580 in March.

Sectors showing employment gains in April included manufacturing (6,200 jobs), professional and business services (3,900), leisure and hospitality (1,900) and construction (1,100).

In the Indianapolis metropolitan area, the non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate was 7.3 percent in April, down from 8 percent in April 2011.

Comparisons of metro areas are more accurately made using the same months in prior yeas because the government does not adjust the figures for factory furloughs and other seasonal fluctuations.
 

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