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State jobless rate rises on surge in labor force

April 15, 2016

Indiana’s unemployment rate jumped to 5 percent in March as a surge of jobless Hoosiers declared themselves ready to find work.

The jobless rate rose from 4.7 percent in February after 18,000 residents joined the labor force last month, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development announced Friday morning.

Indiana's labor force—which is composed of both employed and unemployed-but-willing-to-work residents—has grown by 88,000 over the past year and by 157,000 since January 2013.

Despite the rise in the jobless rate, there were 9,300 more Hoosiers employed in March than in February, the DWD said.

“Over 60,000 Hoosiers joined the workforce in the first three months of 2016, which is indicative of worker confidence in finding and securing gainful employment in Indiana,” said DWD Commissioner Steven Braun in a written statement. “While this influx of workers has an effect on the unemployment rate, the fact that 9,300 more Hoosiers are employed than last month, and over 87,000 more are employed than this time last year, is a testament to Indiana’s strong and growing economy.”

The state saw private-sector gains in March in the Private Education & Health Services sector (+2,500), offset by contraction in Trade, Transportation and Utilities (-4,100) and Construction (-2,300).

The state’s labor-force participation rate increased by three-tenths of a percent in March, to 64.9 percent, outpacing the national average of 63 percent.

At 5 percent, Indiana had the second lowest unemployment rate among its neighboring states in March, trailing Michigan (4.8 percent), and topping Ohio (5.1 percent), Kentucky (5.6 percent) and Illinois (6.5 percent).

The national unemployment rate was 5 percent in March.
 

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