Indiana’s unemployment rate went up for the fourth straight month in September, but the state also added 8,800 private sector jobs. Ball State economics professor Michael Hicks says that combination is cause for less concern.
“And I think what we’re seeing is people flooding back into the labor market which is boosting the unemployment rate,” he says. “That really spells optimism in some directions.”
Hicks says sustained job growth at last month’s level could get Indiana back to a normal unemployment rate in about 18 months. Still, he preaches caution.
“We also should be nervous a little bit because we saw this back in the early part of the year, we saw numbers that were good like this and then they sort of petered out with the increase of the gasoline prices,” he says.
Hicks says Indiana has put itself in a good position to create jobs, but there are still a number of factors out of the state’s control affecting which direction the Hoosier job market will head, including gas prices and the strength of the U.S. economy.