Indiana added 8,600 private-sector jobs in January, but the state’s unemployment rate ticked up to 6 percent because of a “substantial” increase in the labor force, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development announced Tuesday.
The state added 6,700 jobs in the trade, transportation and utilities sector, and another 1,500 jobs in manufacturing, the DWD said. The biggest decline was seen in the construction sector, which lost 2,800 jobs.
The DWD said the state work force grew by 14,249 in January and is up by 85,500 over the past two years, one of the largest increases in the nation.
The seasonally adjusted jobless rate rose from a revised 5.9 percent in December and November. The rate stood at 6.2 percent a year ago.
Indiana’s labor-force-participation rate also increased in January, by 0.2 percentage points, to 63.9 percent. It continues to be a full percentage point higher than the national average.
“Clearly, the numbers indicate many Hoosiers are returning to work and thousands of others, encouraged by the availability of new jobs, are beginning to look for work again, which are both tangible positive economic indicators,” DWD Commissioner Steven Braun said in a written statement.
Ohio led the Midwest with the lowest unemployment rate in January, at 5.1 percent, followed by Kentucky (5.5 percent), Indiana, Illinois (6.1 percent), and Michigan (6.3 percent).
The national unemployment rate for December stood at 5.7 percent.