Indiana’s unemployment rate inched up to 9.8 percent in October, reversing small declines recorded in the previous three months, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development said Friday morning.
The state’s jobless rate increased by just 0.1 percentage point from a seasonally adjusted rate of 9.7 percent in September.
DWD Commissioner Teresa Voors warned that the unemployment rate could climb even higher in coming months. The state’s unemployment rate had been above 10 percent earlier this year, from May through July.
“Indiana’s unemployment rate has held relatively steady for the past three months despite a steadily climbing national rate (10.2 percent in October),” Voors said in a prepared statement. “However, a projected soft holiday retail season combined with a slump in manufacturing and hospitality employment tempers my optimism concerning the coming months.”
The state’s hospitality sector lost 5,900 jobs in October and manufacturers shed 5,000 more. Voors attributed the drop in manufacturing jobs to a slowdown in domestic auto manufacturing following a temporary spike from the “Cash for Clunkers” program.
Conversely, the construction industry added 4,000 jobs last month, and the professional and business services sectors added 2,200 each.
The number of unemployed Hoosiers rose to 291,504 in October from a revised 289,068 in September.
Indiana had an unemployment rate of 6.4 percent in October 2008.
Indiana, however, still has the lowest unemployment rate among its neighboring states. Kentucky’s rate rose last month to 11.2 percent; Illinois’ increased to 11 percent; and Ohio’s grew to 10.5 percent. Michigan’s decreased 0.2 percentage points, to 15.1 percent.
The non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate in the Indianapolis metro area was 8.1 percent in October, up from a revised 7.9 percent in September.
Hoosiers who have exhausted their unemployment benefits and remain out of work can file for an extension beginning on Monday after the federal government approved a 20-week extension.