Indiana added 5,300 private sector jobs last month, and its unemployment rate dropped for the fourth straight month.
The state’s unemployment rate fell to 8.2 percent in March, its lowest level in more than three years. It is also the first time since last year that the state and U.S. unemployment rates were at the same level.
Ball State economist Michael Hicks says Indiana’s economy is showing good growth compared to other states, particularly those in the Midwest.
“In terms of employment numbers, in terms of the unemployment and just growth in labor force, so we’re as relatively healthy as you can get as a state,” he says.
But Hicks is worried about a slowdown from the robust growth Indiana saw in January. He says the state and country still needs to see stronger growth to climb out of the deep hole created by the recession.
“It’s going to take everything working unison for us to get the sort of job creation numbers that we saw in January that were so optimistic to many of us,” Hicks says. “If we saw January’s job numbers for a year we’d be back to full employment.”
Hicks says he is particularly concerned about the effect continued high gas prices will have on economic growth.