Indiana’s unemployment rate rose from 2.6% in July to 2.8% in August while the national rate jumped from 3.5% to 3.7%, according to numbers released Friday by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.
August’s numbers marked the third consecutive month that Indiana’s unemployment rate has risen. It rested at a record low of 2.2% for several months through May, and then climbed to 2.4% in June and 2.6% in July.
August’s rate of 2.8% still was a far cry from the mid-teen highs seen in the first months of the pandemic in 2020.
Meanwhile, the state’s labor force participation rate improved from 63.3% in July to 63.4% in August, which was slightly higher than the 62.1% national rate. The labor force participation rate indicates the percentage of all people of working age who are employed or are actively seeking work.
In effect, a labor force participation rate of 63.4% means that more than a third of Hoosiers of working age (16 and over) are not employed and are not seeking work.
The rate plunged to 60.8% at the beginning of the pandemic and then bounced back a bit. It began the 21st century hovering near 68% but began a bumpy descent in late 2003 to about 64% just prior to the pandemic.
The unemployment rate is a different measure, only representing those in the labor force who are actively looking for work but cannot find a job.
An estimated 95,096 Hoosiers are currently unemployed and seeking jobs, the state reported. That’s up from 87,889 in July.
Indiana’s labor force—composed of both employed and unemployed-but-seeking-work residents age 16 and over—was 3,401,693, an increase of 7,825 from July.
Total private employment now stands at 2,766,600, a slight dip from 2,767,300 in July, but translating to a gain of 81,900 jobs from the same time last year.
The state noted that sectors that added employees in August included Manufacturing (300), Leisure and Hospitality (2,500), Trade Transportation and Utilities (4,400) and Private Educational and Health Services.
There were 145,304 open job postings in Indiana as of Sept. 6, while 16,409 people received unemployment benefits in August, the state said.
“The best news in this report is that both the number of Hoosiers employed and the Indiana labor force as a whole continue to grow. This means more Hoosiers are taking advantage of employment opportunities that exist,” said DWD Interim Commissioner Josh Richardson, in a media release.
“While the state’s unemployment rate increased slightly, the number of job openings continues to exceed the number of Hoosiers looking for work, and it remains a good time for Hoosiers to find a job or pursue training to resume or advance their careers,” Richardson said.