A Ball State University economist says Indiana is closing in on three years of outperforming the rest of the nation in “almost every sector of job growth.” Michael Hicks says the state is pushing closer to full employment. The unemployment rate dropped to 5.4 percent in April, compared to 5.8 percent the previous month. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development says the Hoosier economy grew by 10,600 private-sector jobs and is 7,800 jobs shy of the March 2000 peak employment level. Hicks says Indiana is in the midst of a “robust” recovery following the recession.

The state's jobless rate has decreased by more than 2 percent over the past two years.

The department says job growth in Indiana was led mainly by the trade, transportation and utilities sector with 6,400 new jobs, professional and business services with 2,500 new jobs and construction, with 2,400 new jobs. The DWD says the private sector has added an average of 4,000 jobs per month over the past two years.

The low level of employment in the state was July 2009. Since then, Indiana has added more than 281,000 private sector jobs.

Department of Workforce Development Commissioner Steven Braun says Indiana's “sizable gains” last month are a positive economic indicator leading into the summer months. He also says continuing claims for unemployment insurance are at their lowest levels in 15 years.

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