The pace of Indiana’s steadily improving unemployment rate slowed considerably in September, inching lower from 6.4% in August to 6.2% last month. Meanwhile, several key indicators of job-market health slipped.
The state’s unemployment rate had been retracing its steps much more aggressively in recent months, falling from 12.3% in May, 11.2% in June and 7.8% in July to 6.4% in August.
Still, Indiana’s recovery from double-digit unemployment earlier this year continued to outshine the improvement in the national rate, according to numbers released Tuesday by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. U.S. unemployment improved from 8.4% in August to 7.9% in September.
An estimated 208,282 Hoosiers are currently unemployed and seeking jobs, the state reported. That’s down from 214,408 in August.
Indiana’s labor force—which is composed of both employed and unemployed-but-willing-to-work residents—decreased by a net 19,691 over August’s tally to about 3.33 million. This was the result of a decrease of 6,289 unemployed residents and a decrease of 13,402 employed residents.
Indiana’s labor-force participation rate fell from 63.5% in August to 63% in September. It still bettered the national rate of 61.4%.
The labor force participation rate indicates the percentage of all people of working age who are employed or are actively seeking work.
Private sector employment in Indiana in September decreased by 4,500 from the previous month and is down by 109,700 over the year. Total private employment slipped from 2,631,000 million in August to 2,623,100, which was 126,200 below the January 2019 peak.
The monthly decrease was due in part to job losses in the Private Education and Health Services sector (-4,000) and Construction sector (-1,300), offset somewhat by gains in the Professional and Business Services sector (2,000) and in Leisure and Hospitality (600).
Friday’s report broke out unemployment rates for six nearby states, with Kentucky (5.6%), Minnesota (6%) and Wisconsin (5.4%) reporting lower rates than Indiana’s. Illinois (10.2%), Michigan (8.5%) and Ohio (8.4%) had higher rates.