State’s unemployment rate climbs to 8.7 percent

Indiana’s unemployment rate rose for the second straight month in August, to 8.7 percent, reaching its highest level since February, the state’s Department of Workforce Development said Friday morning.

The state’s jobless rate increased from a revised 8.6 percent in July, as total employment fell again—by 8,582 from July to August following a decline of 10,100 from June to July. State officials originally announced an 8.5-percent unemployment rate for July but revised it prior to Friday's announcement.

The number of unemployed Hoosiers rose to 273,902 in August from a revised 269,719 in July.

The only employment sectors adding a significant amount of jobs were construction and government.

Employment in manufacturing and trade, as well as in transportation and utilities, showed the largest declines.

Indiana’s unemployment rate remains lower than its neighbors. Ohio’s rate is 9.1 percent, Kentucky’s is 9.5 percent, Illinois’ is 9.9 percent and Michigan’s is 11.2 percent.

In the Indianapolis metropolitan area, the non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate was 8.3 percent in August, down from 9 percent in August 2010. Comparisons of metro areas are more accurately made using the same months in prior years because the government does not adjust the figures for factory furloughs and other seasonal fluctuations.

Meanwhile, the nation’s unemployment rate in August remained at 9.1 percent for the second straight month.

The number of people applying for unemployment benefits jumped to the highest level in three months, a sign that the job market remains depressed.

The U.S. Labor Department said Sept. 15 that weekly applications rose 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 428,000.

Applications need to fall below 375,000 to indicate that hiring is increasing enough to lower the unemployment rate. They haven't been below that level since February.

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