State jobless rate rises as more Hoosiers join labor force

May 20, 2016

Indiana’s unemployment rate jumped to 5.2 percent in April as another surge of jobless Hoosiers declared themselves ready to find work.

The jobless rate is up from 5 percent in March and from 4.7 percent in February after 20,743 residents joined the labor force last month, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development announced Friday morning. That follows a February in which 18,000 residents joined the labor force.

Indiana's labor force—which is composed of both employed and unemployed-but-willing-to-work residents—has grown by 82,000 since the beginning of the year and by 178,000 since January 2013.

That surge means more out-of-work people are confident about finding a job, but their addition to the labor force can drive up the unemployment rate.

Despite the rise in the jobless rate, there were 12,000 more Hoosiers employed in April than in March, the state said.

“More than 80,000 Hoosiers joined the workforce in the last four months, which doubles Indiana’s labor force growth for all of 2015,” said DWD Commissioner Steven Braun in a written statement. “Correspondingly, nearly 60,000 more Hoosiers joined the employed ranks in 2016. This suggests Hoosiers are increasingly confident in finding gainful employment.”

Indiana private-sector employment rose by 12,000 in April with the biggest gains seen in the sectors of Manufacturing (+3,300), Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+3,300), Professional & Business Services (+2,700) and Private Education & Health Services (+1,900).

The state’s labor-force participation rate increased by four-tenths of a percent in April, to 65.3 percent, far exceeding the national average of 62.8 percent.

Among Indiana’s neighboring states, Michigan had the lowest unemployment rate at 4.8 percent, followed by Ohio and Indiana (5.2 percent), Kentucky (5.3 percent) and Illinois (6.6 percent).

The national unemployment rate was 5 percent in March.

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