Indiana's jobless rate up to 8.2%

2012-08-17T13:45:00Z 2012-08-19T00:59:06Z Indiana's jobless rate up to 8.2%By Bowdeya Tweh bowdeya.tweh@nwi.com, (219) 933-3316 nwitimes.com

Indiana's unemployment rate ticked up to 8.2 percent in July, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development reported Friday.

But state officials said there could be discrepancies with how the federal government is analyzing Indiana employment figures.

The jobless rate in Indiana was 8 percent in June, and Fridays' report was the first time in about a year the state registered a month-over-month increase in data adjusted for seasonal employment changes. The rate nearly mirrors the national unemployment rate of 8.3 percent in July.

Unemployment rates in Illinois, Kentucky and Michigan rose to 8.9 percent, 8.3 percent and 9 percent, respectively, in July from a month earlier. Ohio's unemployment rate was flat month-over-month at 7.2 percent.

Indiana's unemployment rate rose as a result of a 20,800-person drop in the labor force and the number of unemployed people rising by 4,900 to 259,600 last month. Estimates are made from a survey sample of residents around the country about their employment situations, including whether they're working or looking for work. The U.S. Census Bureau conducts the survey on behalf of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The rising unemployment rate comes at a time when other data said Indiana employers continue to add employees to their ranks. For the ninth consecutive month, total nonfarm employment in Indiana increased. Last month, the government sector accounted for 7,600 of the 10,700 jobs gained in seasonally adjusted data.

Estimates follow a monthly survey of businesses and government agencies for payroll data.

"We have raised several questions with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics about discrepancies in June and July’s labor force data," said Scott Sanders, commissioner of the Department of Workforce Development. "The numbers seem to indicate nearly 46,000 Hoosiers went from gainfully employed in May to missing from the labor force in July, with no explanation."

A representative from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reached Friday declined to provide comment on the state's commentary about the data.

Sanders also noted that while monthly data is volatile, the more reliable long-term numbers show Indiana is still significantly outperforming the U.S. average for private sector job growth, manufacturing growth and nearly every other employment sector in 2012.

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