State unemployment rate continued to improve in November

The Indiana unemployment rate continued to improve in November, decreasing from 5.5% in October to 5% last month, according to numbers released Friday 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, 12.3% in May, 11.2% in June, 7.8% in July, 6.4% in August, 6.3% in September and 5.5% in October. 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 improved from 6.9% in October to 6.7% in November.

An estimated 167,979 Hoosiers are currently unemployed and seeking jobs, the state reported. That’s virtually unchanged from 167,701 in October.

Indiana’s labor force—which is composed of both employed and unemployed-but-willing-to-work residents—decreased by a net 40,274 over October’s tally to about 3.33 million. This was the result of a decrease of 17,345 unemployed residents and a decrease of 22,929 employed residents.

Indiana’s labor-force participation rate drooped from 63.1% in October to 62.9% in November. It still bettered the national rate of 61.5%, which dropped from 61.7% in September.

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 October decreased by 200 from the previous month and is down by 87,600 over the year. Total private employment stands at 2,643,400, which is 105,900 below the January 2019 peak.

The monthly decrease was due in part to job losses in the Professional and Business Services sector (-3,800) and the Leisure and Hospitality sector (-3,000). Losses were offset somewhat by gains in the Construction sector (3,700) and the state’s Other category (2,300), which includes Mining and Logging, IT and Other Services

Friday’s report broke out unemployment rates for six nearby states, with only Minnesota (4.4%) reporting a lower rate than Indiana’s. Wisconsin also reported a 5% rate. Those with higher rates were Kentucky (5.6%), Illinois (6.9%), Ohio (5.7%) and Michigan (6.9%).

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