State adds jobs, but unemployment rate ticks up

Keywords Unemployment

Indiana added 4,000 private-sector jobs in December, but the unemployment rate ticked up as a flood of Hoosiers began looking for work, the state’s Department of Workforce Development said Tuesday morning.

The rate rose to 5.8 percent, up from 5.7 percent in November.

The state added 3,700 jobs in the professional and business services sector and 1,600 in manufacturing during the month. The trade, transportation and utilities sector, which saw a drop of 1,100 jobs, was the only segment to see a decline.

Indiana added 51,500 private-sector jobs overall in 2014, the DWD said.

More than 9,000 Indiana residents returned to the labor force in December to look for work. Indiana’s labor force has grown by more than 83,000 since December 2013, nearly twice the rate of any other Midwestern state.

“Indiana’s labor force growth over the past year has been extraordinary,” DWD Commissioner  Steven Braun said in a written statement. “This is proof Hoosiers are confident the state’s economy is improving and are returning to work. It has also directly resulted in an unemployment rate that remains higher than many of our Midwest neighbors.”

Ohio led the Midwest with the lowest unemployment rate in October, at 4.8 percent—a dip of 0.2 percent from November—followed by Kentucky (5.7 percent), Indiana, Illinois (6.2 percent), and Michigan (6.3 percent).

The national unemployment rate for December stood at 5.6 percent, the first time it has been lower than Indiana’s rate in a year. The national labor force, however, decreased by 273,000 individuals from November to December, helping the rate fall by 0.2 percentage points.

The DWD said 63.7 percent of Hoosiers are participating in the labor force, a full percentage point higher than the national average. December was the ninth month in a row Indiana exceeded the national labor force participation rate.

Unemployment rates fell in 42 states last month. They rose in just four states and were unchanged in four others.

Texas gained 45,700 jobs in December, the most in the nation. Overall, 41 states gained jobs, while nine said they had lost jobs.

Nationwide, nearly 3 million more Americans are earning paychecks now compared with 12 months ago.

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