Indiana's unemployment rate rose slightly in June, according to government data released Thursday.
The Indiana Department of Workforce Development reported the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate edged up to 8.4 percent in June from 8.3 percent in May. Northwest Indiana's jobless rate rose to 9.9 percent from 9.2 percent over the same period.
Private sector employment for June has not been near its current level since June of 2008. Figures from the state agency show about 277,000 Hoosiers were unemployed last month, while more than 2.9 million had jobs.
Indiana's private sector added 5,300 jobs last month, largely because of a thriving manufacturing sector. Industrial companies accounted for most of the growth in employment and added 4,300 jobs, the largest one-month jump since August 2004.
The state continues to have the country's highest percentage of manufacturing jobs as a portion of the private sector.
“The manufacturing sector experienced the largest one-month increase in nearly a decade,” said Scott Sanders, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. “The majority of the growth occurred in durable goods, mainly in transportation equipment.”
Sanders also noted initial claims for unemployment insurance continue to remain at their lowest levels since 2000.
The slight increase in the unemployment rate likely is the result of more discouraged workers rejoining the workforce, said Micah Pollak, a professor of economics at Indiana University Northwest.
Lake County's unemployment rate rose to 10.4 percent last month from 9.8 percent in May. Porter County's rate rose to 8.4 percent in June from 7.9 percent the month prior, while La Porte County's rate inched up to 10.2 percent in June from 10.1 percent in May.
Unemployment in Indiana remains lower than Illinois, which is at 9.3 percent, but it's still higher than the national rate of 7.6 percent.