Jobless rate rises to 8.3% in Indiana

2012-09-21T12:45:00Z 2012-09-23T00:16:36Z Jobless rate rises to 8.3% in IndianaBy Bowdeya Tweh bowdeya.tweh@nwi.com, (219) 933-3316 nwitimes.com
September 21, 2012 12:45 pm  • 

Indiana's unemployment rate rose in August for the third consecutive month to 8.3 percent, according to data the state and federal government released Friday.

The jobless rate rose 0.1 percentage point from July's seasonally adjusted rate of 8.2 percent. The nation's unemployment rate is August was 8.1 percent. One year ago, Indiana's jobless rate was 9.3 percent.

Three of Indiana's four neighboring states, Illinois, Kentucky and Michigan, also had higher unemployment rates in August from July.

In recent months, state officials said there have been discrepancies in job growth and employment data received from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

About 260,000 people were unemployed in Indiana last month. The estimate is based on a survey sample of residents around the country about their employment situations, which includes whether they're working or looking for work.

But according to a separate data set, the number of employees at Indiana non-farm businesses, more than 2.89 million, was at its highest level in August since late 2008. This seasonally adjusted estimate comes from a monthly survey of businesses and government agencies for their payroll data.

“Yet another month the federal government has notified us our unemployment rate increased while we added actual jobs," said Scott Sanders, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. "We have repeatedly questioned their data models. It’s pretty obvious the numbers just don’t add up."

Indiana has posted six consecutive monthly declines in its labor force and four consecutive monthly declines in employment.

However, Indiana's underemployment rate has shown improvement. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said the state's rate of labor underutilization was 15 percent based on a four-quarter moving average through the second quarter of 2012. The previous average was 15.6 percent.

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development said the sector showing the largest jobs gain last month was private educational and health services by adding 5,200 jobs. The government sector lost 2,000 jobs since July, which was the largest drop among the non-farm employment categories.

The unemployment rate in Illinois rose 0.2 percentage point in August to 9.1 percent.

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