Unemployment fell nearly a full percentage point in Indiana last year

People tour the booths at The Times Diversity Business Symposium and Job Fair at Avalon Manor in Hobart in June. Unemployment dropped by 0.9 percent in Indiana last year. Only three states saw a more dramatic decline.

Only three states — Alabama, Wyoming and Tennessee — posted a more dramatic decline in unemployment than Indiana last year.

The average jobless rate in the Hoosier state plunged 0.9 percent to 3.5 percent last year, down from 4.4 percent in 2016, according to newly released statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Neighboring Illinois saw a similarly steep drop of 0.8 percent.

Joblessness in the Land of Lincoln declined to 5 percent last year, down from 5.8 percent in 2016.

Nationally, unemployment stood at 4.4 percent last year. Hawaii had the lowest jobless rate of 2.4 percent, while Alaska had the highest at 7.2 percent.

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The unemployment rate fell in 32 states and was unchanged or changed little in 18 states. Joblessness generally declined in every region of the United States, including the Midwest, as the economy continued to improve.

"All four census regions had unemployment rate decreases from 2016: the Midwest, South, and West (-0.6 percentage point each) and the Northeast (-0.3 point)," the Bureau of Labor Statistics said in a news release. "The Midwest had the lowest jobless rate, 4.1 percent in 2017. No other region had a rate significantly different from that of the U.S."

About 60.8 percent of the adult population in the United States was employed last year. That included about 61.3 percent of Illinois's population of 12.7 million and 61.8 percent of Indiana's population of 6.7 million.


Business Reporter

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.