State unemployment holds steady at 3.5 percent

Indiana’s unemployment rate held steady at 3.5 percent in September, echoing August’s rate as the state’s labor force continued to grow.

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development released its latest unemployment report Friday.

Indiana’s labor force—which is composed of both employed and unemployed-but-willing-to-work residents—increased by 4,564 workers from August to September, to 3.39 million.

Indiana’s labor-force participation rate—the percentage of the state’s population that is either employed or actively seeking work—rose to 65.1 percent in September. It remains ahead of the national rate of 62.7 percent.

Private sector employment in Indiana grew by 2,500 in September over the previous month and is up more than 26,400 over the year, the state said.

September job gains were seen in the sectors of Trade Transportation and Utilities (2,400) and a catch-all category that includes mining and logging, information technology and other sectors (1,600). Gains were partially offset by losses in the sectors of Manufacturing (-1,300) and educational and health services (-1,000)

Total private employment in the state was more than 2.7 million in September.

The unemployment rate in Indiana for August was lower than the rates in neighboring states Michigan (4 percent), Illinois (4.1 percent), Ohio (4.6 percent) and Kentucky (4.5 percent).

The state’s unemployment rate has been lower than the national rate (currently 3.7 percent) for more than four years, except for the month of October 2014, when it was equal.

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