Indiana’s unemployment rate fell to 8.4 percent in Februrary, down three-tenths of a percent from the month before. That’s the biggest single-month drop since March of last year. New unemployment claims also dropped below 5,000 the last two weeks, which has not happened since 2005.
Ball State economist Michael Hicks says the last two months have shown improvement in Indiana’s employment sector.
“I do think, though, that these couple of months are going to be anomalous in part because of the Super Bowl and the better weather that we’ve had because of the winter months,” he says.
Hicks says a couple more months of similar growth would be necessary before economists could say with confidence that the improvement is a trend.
“I’m a bit worried that we haven’t yet felt the full pressure of gas price increases and that is the single factor that is really making me nervous about the March, April and May date that we’re going to be seeing in the next few months,” he says.
Hicks says in 2011, the economy showed similar growth in the first couple months of the year before worsening because of high gas prices.