State's unemployment rate jumps to 9.9 percent

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Indiana's unemployment rate is perilously close to hitting double digits again after posting its biggest rise since mid-2009. The rate increased to 9.9 percent in December, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development said Friday morning.

Unemployment climbed by 0.3 percentage points, from a revised rate of 9.6 percent in November. The jump was the biggest in Indiana since the rate rose from 9.9 percent to 10.6 percent in May 2009. It hasn't been in double digits since July, when it was 10.6 percent.

DWD Commissioner Teresa Voors attributed the increase, in part, to a decrease in construction activity in December.

“The two largest factors in the [report] are a drop in construction employment, possibly attributed to the weather, and an increase in the number of unemployment claims following eight straight months of decline,” she said. 

Indiana had an unemployment rate of 7.8 percent in December 2008.

The number of unemployed Hoosiers increased to 301,028 in December from a revised 288,265 in November.

Indiana still has the lowest unemployment rate among its neighboring states. Kentucky’s rate climbed last month to 10.7 percent, Ohio’s to 10.9 percent and Illinois’ to 11.1 percent. Michigan’s rate decreased 0.1 percentage point, to 14.6 percent.

Statewide, financial activities and professional and business services both posted slight employment gains. Conversely, construction; trade, transportation and utilities; leisure and hospitality; and manufacturing reported losses.

The non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate in the Indianapolis metro area was 9.1 percent in December, up slightly from a revised 8.8 percent in November.

Nationally, the number of newly laid off workers seeking jobless benefits unexpectedly rose last week.

The Labor Department said Jan. 21 that initial claims for unemployment insurance rose by 36,000, to a seasonally adjusted 482,000. Wall Street economists expected a small drop, according to Thomson Reuters.

Claims have dropped steadily since last fall, as companies cut fewer jobs. That has caused some economists to hope that hiring may increase soon. Initial claims have dropped by 50,000, or almost 10 percent, since late October.


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