Indiana’s unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level in five and a half years, now lower than the national rate. But the numbers, released today, show these numbers are misleading as the private sector actually lost jobs.
The Indiana unemployment rate fell nearly half a percent in January, its largest one-month drop in 20 years. Its rate of 6.4 percent is the lowest since September 2008 and the first time the state’s rate has been below the national average in nearly two years.
Yet the state’s private sector contracted to start the year, losing 7,100 jobs. Its biggest losses were in the trade, transportation and utilities sector, as well as the construction business.
The state Department of Workforce Development blames the losses primarily on the extreme winter weather that gripped Indiana. Governor Mike Pence praised the low number but recognized there is still room for improvement.
“Too many Hoosiers are still struggling, Pence said in a statement. “Which is why we need to continue pushing to improve Indiana’s economic climate, to attract more jobs, and to make sure Hoosier workers have the skills they need for the jobs of the future.”