State Unemployment Rate Hits 8-Year Low

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Indiana's labor force participation rate was 63.5, which is once again higher than the national average. Indiana's labor force participation rate was 63.5, which is once again higher than the national average.

Ball State University Economist Mike Hicks says, in the face of a "horrible" recent national jobs report, Indiana's monthly report is far above his expectations. The unemployment rate has dipped to its lowest level since July 2007. The state says the 4.5 percent rate was driven in part by 6,600 private sector jobs being added in September. Hicks tells Inside INdiana Business Indiana is outpacing national growth three-fold.

Hicks says the labor force is growing in the state, which is "against the tide" of the rest of the country. Although he doesn't think he can see the state unemployment rate falling much farther, the fact that the state added jobs at a rate that was more than three-times as high as the national average is a "such a rare historical event for Indiana, that it is cause to celebrate."

Sectors including private educational and health services, leisure and hospitality and construction all notched considerable gains according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

The manufacturing sector also added hundreds of jobs last month, which Hicks says is "remarkable." Private sector employment levels are now 9,200 jobs above peak, which was recorded in March 2000.

DWD Commissioner Steven Braun says "in September, Indiana experienced another decrease in unemployment due to strong levels of reemployment and labor force gains. Indiana continues its robust economic recovery with consistent growth in private sector jobs, wages and labor force participation that are all above the national average."

Hicks says he hopes the continually improving unemployment rates will drive wages higher in the state. He says, despite this month's performance, unemployment rates are generally a "lagging economic indicator" and with the weakening national picture may eventually catch up to Indiana.

In a statement, Governor Mike Pence said "the news that unemployment continues to fall in Indiana is a source of encouragement. More Hoosiers are working than ever before in state history, and the fact that our labor force participation rates are outpacing national averages is a testament to Indiana’s growing economy."

You can connect to more details about the September report by clicking here.

He says there are several points in the September report that show the state is bucking some national and regional trends.
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