Indiana’s unemployment rate skyrocketed to 16.9% in April as the coronavirus crisis paralyzed portions of the economy in the state and across the globe.
The monthly statistics released Friday by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development are the first to fully reckon with job losses due to the global pandemic. The state’s unemployment rate for March of 3.2% was based on a survey taken early in the month, and thus didn’t reflect the surge in jobless claims over the course of March.
The state unemployment rate for April was above the national unemployment rate of 14.7%. Prior to the health crisis, it typically was below the national rate.
Friday’s report also revealed decreases in the state’s labor force—which is composed of both employed and unemployed-but-willing-to-work residents—and its labor-force participation rate—the percentage of the state’s population that is either employed or actively seeking work.
Indiana’s labor force shrank by 40,450 workers from March to April, dropping from 3.27 million to 3.23 million.
Indiana’s labor-force participation rate decreased from 62.2% in March to 61.4% in April. It remained ahead of the national rate of 60.2%.
Private sector employment in Indiana fell by 380,500 workers over the previous month, the state said. Total private employment was 2.33 million, which was 414,000 below the January 2019 peak.
The decrease was due in large part to job losses in the Leisure and Hospitality sector (-116,000), Manufacturing (-78,200) and Private Educational and Health Services (-54,200).
The state’s report for April likely doesn’t reflect current unemployment levels. So far in May, the state has received about 104,000 new applications for unemployment benefits.
All told, an estimated 545,909 Hoosiers are currently unemployed and seeking employment, according to the state.
The state’s unemployment rate for April was among the highest for Midwestern states. Friday’s report broke out unemployment rates for six nearby states, with Minnesota (8.1%), Wisconsin (14.1%), Kentucky (15.4%), Illinois (16.4%) and Ohio (16.8%) reporting lower rates than Indiana’s. Michigan’s was higher at 22.7%.