Indiana’s unemployment rate jumps to 3.5 percent


Indiana’s unemployment rate jumped to 3.5 percent in August after flirting with a near-record low earlier this year.

The rate was 3.1 percent in July and 3 percent in June, narrowly missing a state record low of 2.9 percent last hit in 2000.

The state’s Department of Workforce Development announced the unemployment numbers Friday morning.

Indiana had the largest July-to-August unemployment rate increase among states, according to the the U.S. Labor Department, with a 0.4 percentage point increase, closely followed by California, New Jersey, Oregon and West Virginia, which each had 0.3 percentage point increases.

Despite the rise, Indiana’s jobless rate ranks it among the lowest 14 states for unemployment.

Indiana’s labor force—which is composed of both employed and unemployed-but-willing-to-work residents—increased by 4,615 workers from July to August, to nearly 3.34 million. Indiana saw a decrease in employment of 8,007 and an increase in unemployment of 12,622, the state said.

Indiana’s labor-force participation rate—the percentage of the state’s population that is either employed or actively seeking work—rose one-tenth of a point, to 64.4 percent, in August. It remains well ahead of the national rate of 62.9 percent.

The national unemployment rate was 4.4 percent in August, up from 4.3 percent in the previous month.

The state saw a decrease of about 4,900 private-sector jobs during the month. However, private-sector employment has grown by more than 25,400 over the past year.

August jobs losses were seen in the sectors of Leisure and Hospitality (-4,800) and Private, Educational and Health Services (-2,100). Gains were found in the Trade, Transportation and Utilities (2,600) and the Financial Activities (700) sectors.

Indiana’s unemployment rate in August was lower than the rate in neighboring states Michigan (3.9 percent), Illinois (5 percent), Ohio (5.4 percent) and Kentucky (5.4 percent).

The U.S. Labor Department said unemployment rates were higher in August in eight states, lower in one state and stable in 41 states and the District of Columbia.

North Dakota and Colorado had the lowest unemployment rates in August, at 2.3 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively. Alaska had the highest jobless rate, 7.2 percent.

Several states saw strong job growth between June and July. California added 82,600 jobs. Florida gained 32,700. Pennsylvania saw hiring of 29,000.

North Dakota's unemployment rate fell to 2.2 percent, a record low. Tennessee's rate of 3.4 percent is also a record low for that state.

Indiana jobless rate in June narrowly missed a record low of 2.9 percent that it hit during several months in 1998, 1999 and 2000.

The state unemployment rate was 4.5 percent a year ago.

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