For the first time in six months, Indiana’s unemployment rate has surged ahead of the national rate, rising to 8.3 percent in August.
Indiana added 7,200 private sector jobs last month for the tenth consecutive month of growth. The state’s job growth rate also tripled the national rate.
But the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 66,000 Hoosiers have left the labor force in the last three months, contributing to the state’s unemployment rate increasing a tenth of one percent.
Indiana Business Research Center economic analysis director Timothy Slaper says the conflicting numbers are a result of people coming in and out of the job market, looking for work.
“We’re in a relatively stable unemployment condition or situation,” he says. “The more important numbers are actually the jobs that we see being created, especially by private enterprise.”
Ball State economist Michael Hicks agrees with Slaper but says the individual job sector numbers give him pause.
“What we might be seeing with manufacturing shrinking and with business services shrinking, we might see that, at some point in the coming months, the slowdown in the national economy will at least modestly affect Indiana,” he says.
Hicks and Slaper say a positive is that more construction jobs may mean an improving housing market.