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State jobless rate ticks up to 9.9 percent

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Indiana’s unemployment rate edged up slightly in March despite an increase in jobs.

The state Department of Workforce Development said Friday that the revised seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate inched up one-tenth of a percentage point, to 9.9 percent, for March.

The state's jobless rate had been either 9.8 percent or 9.7 percent the previous four months.

Yet, the number of jobs in Indiana rose by 16,600, marking the largest month-to-month increase since September 2005, the state said.

“Ten percent of all jobs added in the U.S. in March were located in Indiana, but more Hoosiers returned to the work force last month, impacting the rate,” DWD Commissioner Teresa Voors said.

Indiana was the only state among its neighbors to report a jobless rate lower than 10 percent in March and the only one of the four to report a year-to-year unemployment decline. Indiana’s unemployment rate in March 2009 was 10.1 percent.

The agency said there were more people working in several employment sectors in March, including manufacturing, construction and professional and business services. Sectors reporting job declines included leisure and hospitality, financial activities, and private education and health services.
 
The number of unemployed Hoosiers increased slightly, to 331,081, in March from a revised 330,042 in February. The state’s labor force grew to just over 3.1 million, DWD said.

The non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate in the Indianapolis metro area was 9.5 percent in March, up from 8.9 percent in March 2009.

In an encouraging sign for the economy, temporary employment shot up 22.7 percent statewide from March 2009, making the year-over-year increase the fourth in a row.

In the Indianapolis area, temporary jobs jumped 8.8 percent, to 30,600. It was the third consecutive year-over-year increase.

The figures suggest businesses are tip-toeing into hiring without saddling themselves with the risk of lay-offs should the economy cool.

In addition Friday, the federal government approved legislation continuing the five federally funded unemployment extensions through June 2, 2010.

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