Indiana, Indy stage small employment gains

August 20, 2010

Indiana and the Indianapolis area eked out a few more jobs in July, government figures released Friday show.

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development reported that the state added 8,700 jobs from June and 47,600 from July 2009—increases of 0.3 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.

Still, the state’s unemployment rate increased by a sliver to 10.2 percent, its fourth straight month in double digits.

The number of unemployed Hoosiers decreased from 321,002 in June to 319,406 in July.

The department noted Indiana seasonally adjusted employment has grown 2.4 percent this year, four times faster than the U.S. rate.

The U.S. Department of Labor said Friday that only Alaska posted a greater year-over-year percentage increase in employment, 1.9 percent. Indiana also added the second-greatest number of jobs during the 12 months, following Texas.

July’s gain means the state has recovered about a third of the jobs lost during the recession and its aftermath.

While meager, the gains nonetheless are additional evidence the state is unlikely to slide back into recession anytime soon.

On Thursday, Indiana University said its Leading Index for Indiana, which uses a different set of statistics to predict economic activity several months in the future, staged a slight uptick in July following two months of decline.

The university’s Indiana Business Research Center had been watching to see if the index would retreat for a third month in a row; had the index slipped in July, center researchers would have started drilling deeper into the data to see whether another recession was on the way.

Job numbers climbed broadly in July over June. The tiny category of information and an omnibus grab bag of industries called “other services” suffered reversals, as did business and professional services, which includes temporary workers.

Temp workers are watched closely to determine if companies are still playing it safe by not hiring permanent workers. The category saw a big upswing from a year earlier, to nearly 80,000; however, the government does not adjust the figure for seasonal fluctuations, so it’s difficult to judge the significance of a decline of 300 workers from June.

In the Indianapolis metro area, the non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate was 9.2 percent in July, up from 8.6 percent in July 2009. Figures for the metro level are not seasonally adjusted.

Most industries in the Indianapolis-Carmel metropolitan statistical area added jobs.

Comparing July with July 2009, Indianapolis saw employment droop 11 percent in construction, a large category that tends to pay its workers relatively well.
As was the case at the state level, temporary worker employment shot up.

Manufacturing, transportation and warehousing stood even with a year earlier.

Leisure and hospitality shed workers, as did manufacturing of non-durable goods—products designed to be consumed within three years. Eli Lilly and Co.’s ongoing layoffs might have contributed to the decline in non-durable manufacturing.

Government continued adding employment, a long-term trend in the metro area as expanding suburbs hire teachers, and firefighters and other public servants.


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