Indiana’s unemployment rate continues descent, slipping to 2.7%

Keywords Unemployment

Indiana’s unemployment rate continued to descend in December and hit a low that the state has not seen in at least 46 years, according to numbers released Tuesday by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

The state’s unemployment rate dropped from 3% in November to 2.7% in December—a far cry from the mid-teen highs seen in the first months of the pandemic in 2020. Meanwhile, the national rate descended from 4.2% in November to 3.9% in December.

However, the state’s labor force participation rate also fell, drooping from 62.5% in November to 62.4% in December—a record low for at least the last 45 years if one doesn’t count its sudden fall to 61.2% and quick recovery in the first three months of the pandemic.

Indiana’s labor force participation rate hovered near 68% from 2001 to 2003 and then began a bumpy descent to the current level of 62.4%.

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 62.4% means that more than a third of Hoosiers of working age are not employed and are not seeking work.

The national labor force participation rate in December was 61.9%, up from 61.8% in November.

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 88,240 Hoosiers are currently unemployed and seeking jobs, the state reported. That’s down from 100,696 in November.

Indiana’s labor force—composed of both employed and unemployed-but-seeking-work residents—had a net decrease of 8,774 from November’s tally to about 3.31 million. This was a result of an increase of 3,836 employed residents and a decrease of 12,610 unemployed residents.

Total private employment stands at 2,705,000, an improvement over 2,689,100 in November. Total private employment is now 35,000 below the December 2019 peak.

The monthly increase was due in part to job gains in the Construction (3,000); Leisure & Hospitality (2,300); Professional & Business Services (2,000); Trade, Transportation & Utilities (1,600); and Private Education and Health Services (1,900) sectors.

Friday’s report broke out unemployment rates for six nearby states, all of which had higher unemployment rates than Indiana: Illinois (5.3%), Kentucky (3.9%), Michigan (5.6%), Ohio (4.5%), Wisconsin (2.8%) and Minnesota (3.1%).

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4 thoughts on “Indiana’s unemployment rate continues descent, slipping to 2.7%

  1. Thank you IBJ for acknowledging the other side of the coin with “low unemployment”…staggeringly low work force participation. With so many people not even seeking employment, it’s hard to know the real metric of people being able to earn a good honest living through work. At least work force participation is on an upward trajectory, however slight.

  2. The labor force participation (LFP) rate includes everyone age 16+, which includes a lot of retirees and a lot of students. Sure, people 70+ or in high school/college might choose or need to work, but I think it’s a little deceiving to say that “a third of Hoosiers of working age are not employed or not seeking work.” This paints a picture of 1 in 3 adults of actual prime working age being idle. I wonder what the rate would be if they only counted people between the ages of 25-54… Ok, I found this link to a recent article indicating said rate for men is currently 88.2% as of November 2021, so that would equate to about 1 in 8.5 men of prime working age being idle. Certainly might be a cause for concern, but nothing like the image of the 1 in 3 number that is conjured up by the LFP rate. https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-underside-of-the-great-resignation-labor-participation-rate-workforce-men-employment-pay-jobs-welfare-ubi-11642777828

  3. The lower end of “working age” has steadily been moving up as more restrictions have been placed on employing youth. This results in a decrease in the development of a strong work ethic during critical formative years. The upper end of “working age” is determined by the federal government according to when workers are allowed to collect the money they and their employers contributed to social security. That age has also been moving up as life expectancy increases and the social security funds become less solvent due to being raided by the federal government for other purposes. The statistics can be difficult to interpret as some may choose to retire early because they have private investments that give them the ability to do so. Others may retire early due to health problems, or a choice that they just prefer not to work. These individuals often live at or below the poverty level and require assistance. As the federal government prints more money and writes more checks to individuals, it is readily explainable why adults that are able to work choose not to. It is easier and more desirable to cash government checks than work. “Whatever you subsidize, expect more of”.

  4. People don’t want to do garbage work for garbage pay. Employers will either make the jobs better or increase the pay… or wisen up that, perhaps, cutting off other flow of immigrants to America was a tactical mistake.

    The only restriction coming is the movement in some states to entitle vaccine refusers for unemployment benefits. Not much of a case for that government intervention, as there are plenty of other places that those who want to get vaccinated can go to work, and an inability to hire workers will cause employers with vaccinate mandates to reconsider them.

    Free market at work.

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