Unemployment ticks up in March as state labor force grows

Indiana’s unemployment rate ticked up from 3.5% to 3.6% in March 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 6,769 workers from February to March, to 3.41 million.

Indiana’s labor-force participation rate—the percentage of the state’s population that is either employed or actively seeking work—rose from 65.2% to 65.3% in March. It remains ahead of the national rate of 63.2%.

The national unemployment rate for March was 3.8%. With the exception of one month when it was equal (October 2014), Indiana's unemployment rate has been below the U.S. rate for more than five years.

Private sector employment in Indiana grew by 5,300 in March over the previous month and is up more than 38,100 over the last year, the state said.

March job gains were seen in the sectors of Professional and Business Services (1,200), Leisure and Hospitality (1,100) and Financial Activities (1,000).

Total private employment reached a preliminary record high point of 2,750,400, which is 18,300 above the official December 2018 peak.

The unemployment rate in Indiana for March was lower than the rates in neighboring states Michigan (4%), Illinois (4.4%), Ohio (4.4%) and Kentucky (4%).

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