Indiana unemployment falls to 3 percent, sixth lowest in country

In this Thursday, May 30, 2013, file photo, a job seeker stops at a table offering resume critiques during a job fair held in Atlanta. Indiana's unemployment rate was the sixth lowest in the country in June.

The Associated Press

Indiana's unemployment rate fell to 3 percent in June, down from 3.2 percent in May. 

It's near the state's record low of 2.9 percent unemployment in the late 1990s.

The state's jobless rate was the sixth lowest nationally and the third lowest in the Midwest, trailing only North Dakota and Nebraska. About 2.6 million people are now working in the state, an all-time high that correlates with population growth over time.

"We are pleased to see Indiana's unemployment rate go lower this past month and stay at its lowest levels since the mid-1990s," Indiana Department of Workforce Development Commissioner Steven J. Braun said. "We believe this is an indication of the state's ongoing strong economy. We at the Department of Workforce Development remain focused on assisting Hoosiers who are unemployed or underemployed. I encourage them to visit their local WorkOne Career Centers and utilize the free resources and job assistance programs available to them."

Employment across the Hoosier state rose by 4,088 workers statewide, while unemployment fell by 6,515. In June, the Professional and Business Services sector gained 3,500 jobs in Indiana, while Private Educational and Health Services added another 3,000 jobs. Indiana's construction industry, however, lost 900 jobs last month, during the traditional height of the construction season.

Joblessness in Illinois grew to 4.7 percent in June, up 0.1 percent from May despite the addition of 8,600 jobs last month.

“The unemployment rate increase and a decline in construction payroll are troublesome, but the trend of declining labor force is something we cannot ignore," Illinois Department of Employment Security Director Jeff Mays said. “This was the fourth consecutive over-the-month decline in labor force, which is now at its lowest level since March 2006.”

Illinois gained 5,600 jobs in Professional and Business Services, 4,600 in Leisure and Hospitality and 1,400 in Government in June. The state's jobless rate was 0.3 percent higher than the national average of 4.4 percent in June.

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Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.