State jobless rate dips for third consecutive month

Unemployment in Indiana fell for the third consecutive month in September, bucking the national trend of rising jobless rates, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development said Wednesday morning.

The state’s jobless rate fell to 9.6 percent in September from a seasonally adjusted rate of 9.9 percent in August.

August’s figure marked the first time the rate had slipped below 10 percent since April, and state officials said then that it was too early to tell whether the decline truly marked the beginning of a recovery.

IDEM Commissioner Teresa Voors expressed more confidence in the state’s economy Wednesday when releasing the latest numbers.

“Indiana is bucking the national trend with three straight months of declining unemployment,” she said in a written release. “It’s still too early to say we have turned the corner, but Indiana’s economy is definitely trending in the right direction.”

Voors said she is encouraged by increases in manufacturing employment and in professional and business service jobs.

The state’s unemployment rate has fallen 1.1 percentage points during the past three months and is lower than the national rate of 9.8 percent for the first time since October 2008.  

The number of unemployed Hoosiers fell to 287,720 in September from a revised 307,190 in August.

Earlier this month, Gov. Mitch Daniels said while discussing the state’s falling revenue that he was skeptical of the improving unemployment figures. Daniels said he saw no evidence in his travels around the state that the employment situation was improving.

Indiana’s jobless rate is still up significantly from a year ago. In September 2009, it stood at 6.1 percent.

The non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate in the Indianapolis metro area was 7.7 percent in September, down from a revised 8.2 percent in August, but up from 5.1 percent in September 2008.

Roughly 68,500 people are unemployed in the metro area, according to the latest figure.

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

September unemployment rates rose in 23 states and fell in 19. Nevada, Rhode Island and Florida posted their highest jobless rates on records dating to 1976.

Michigan reported the nation’s highest unemployment rate, at 15.3 percent. It was followed by Nevada at 13.3 percent, Rhode Island at 13 percent, California at 12.2 percent and South Carolina at 11.6 percent.

The jobless rate in the Midwest fell to 9.8 percent last month from 10 percent in August. It was the only region where the unemployment rate dropped.

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