Indiana’s unemployment rate continued to improve in December, decreasing from 5.1% in November to 4.3% last month, according to numbers released Tuesday by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.
The state’s unemployment rate has been doggedly retracing its steps in recent months from its latest spike, falling from 16.9% in April to 12.3% in May, 11.2% in June, 7.8% in July, 6.4% in August, 6.3% in September, 5.5% in October and 5.1% in November. It was 3.2% in November 2019.
Indiana’s recovery from double-digit unemployment continued to outshine the improvement in the national rate. U.S. unemployment was unchanged from November to December at 6.7%.
An estimated 144,356 Hoosiers are currently unemployed and seeking jobs, the state reported. That’s down from 167,979 in November.
Indiana’s labor force—which is composed of both employed and unemployed-but-willing-to-work residents—increased by a net 83,609 over November’s tally to about 3.39 million. This was the result of a decrease of 23,903 unemployed residents and an increase of 107,512 employed residents.
Indiana’s labor-force participation rate swelled from 62.9% in November to 64% in December. It again bettered the national rate of 61.5%, which was unchanged from November.
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 December increased by 17,400 from the previous month but is down by 69,900 over the year. Total private employment stands at 2,663,600, which is 85,700 below the January 2019 peak.
The monthly increase was due in part to job gains in the Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector (8,400) and Professional and Business Services sector (5,800). Gains were offset somewhat by losses in the Leisure and Hospitality sector (-1,100) and the Private Education and Health Services sector (-200.
Tuesday’s report broke out unemployment rates for six nearby states, all of which had higher unemployment rates than Indiana: Minnesota (4.4%), Wisconsin (5.5%), Ohio (5.5%), Kentucky (6%), Michigan (7.5%) and Illinois (7.6%).