Indiana jobless rate ticks up as labor force rises

March 25, 2016

The state’s unemployment rate ticked up last month as more than 20,000 Hoosiers entered the labor force for a second consecutive month, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development announced Friday morning.

Indiana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 4.7 percent in February, up from 4.6 percent the previous two months, the DWD said.

The agency said 43,708 Hoosiers entered the labor force in January and February, boosting Indiana’s labor force participation rate to 64.6 percent, well ahead of the national average of 62.9 percent.

Almost 82 percent, or 35,682, of those entering the Indiana labor force in the past two months found employment, the state said, but the increased size of the labor force resulted in the higher unemployment rate.

“In the past two months, more than 35,000 Hoosiers rejoined the labor force and found employment due to the strong Hoosier economy,” said Indiana Department of Workforce Development Commissioner Steven Braun in a written statement. “This growth is even more impressive when compared to the 11,376 individuals who joined the labor force in January and February of 2015.”

Private-sector employment increased by 6,900 jobs in Indiana in February, the state said. Gains were seen in the Trade, Transportation & Utilities (+5,000), Private Education and Health Services (+4,500) and Leisure and Hospitality (+1,300) sectors.

Contraction was found in the Professional & Business Services (-3,000) and Manufacturing (-2,600) sectors.

At 4.7 percent, Indiana had the lowest unemployment rate among its neighboring states in February, followed by Michigan (4.8 percent), Ohio (4.9 percent), Kentucky (5.8 percent) and Illinois (6.4 percent).

The national unemployment rate was 4.9 percent in February.

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