State unemployment rate dips to 8.7 percent

Indiana’s unemployment rate fell to 8.7 percent in January as the state added 13,000 private-sector jobs, the largest monthly increase in more than a year, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development said Tuesday morning.
DWD revised the state’s jobless rate in December to 8.9 percent from the original rate of 9 percent it reported last month.

“January was a strong month for Indiana with excellent job creation,” DWD Commissioner Mark W. Everson said in a prepared statement. “Hoosiers are encouraged that employment opportunities are available and are returning to the labor force to work, or look for work.”

Statewide non-farm employment totaled 2.93 million on a seasonally adjusted basis, the highest level since February 2009. A total of 279,119 Hoosiers remain out of work, down from 285,885 in January 2011.

Sectors showing big job gains in January were professional and business services, which added 6,400 jobs; trade, transportation and utilities, which added 3,700 jobs; and manufacturing, which added 2,400 jobs. A big declining sector was financial activities, which lost 1,500 jobs in January.

Indiana’s unemployment rate was 9 percent in January 2011.

In the Indianapolis metropolitan area, the non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate was 8.6 percent in January, down from 8.8 percent in January 2011. In all, 76,617 people are out of work in the Indianapolis area.

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, Indiana’s unemployment rate remains higher than the national rate of 8.3 percent, which remained unchanged from January to February.

But Workforce Development officials noted that since July, a larger percentage of Hoosiers have entered the labor force—which means they are either getting jobs or actively looking for jobs— than Americans as a whole.

U.S. employers added 227,000 jobs in February to complete three of the best months of hiring since the recession ended. The unemployment rate held steady largely because more people streamed into the work force.

Indiana is set to report its February unemployment rate on March 30.

Due to the state’s improved unemployment rate, Indiana is no longer is eligible for extended unemployment benefits. Indiana’s three-month average rate would need to be at least 9 percent to continue to qualify.

Hoosiers will be unable to file for extended benefits beginning on April 15. About 10,000 Indiana residents who have been unemployed for more than 79 weeks will no longer be eligible to receive 20 more weeks of extended federal benefits.


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