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Jobless rate stalls at 4.4 percent

Indiana has the eight highest jobless rate in the Midwest, while Illinois has the worst.

Indiana's jobless rate has fallen for most of 2015, but remained steady at 4.4 percent in November.

The state added 3,400 private-sector jobs, including 2,800 in construction and 2,500 in trade, transportation and utilities. Manufacturing, a major employer in Northwest Indiana, lost 3,300 jobs.

"Unemployment in The Hoosier State continues to be at its lowest levels in more than a decade," Indiana Department of Workforce Development Commissioner Steven Braun said. "Meanwhile, Indiana continues to lead the Midwest in labor force growth by a significant amount."

The jobs report doesn't tell the whole story about Indiana's economy, said Drew Anderson, Democratic Party communications director. 

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"Hardworking Hoosiers know that while Mike Pence claims the state is 'at its peak' with employment, wages in Indiana continue to be far lower than what they were back in early 2000," Anderson said. "With shrinking wages and sluggish economic growth, Indiana continues to fall behind the rest of the nation — and it's Mike Pence to blame for allowing the state to plummet to the bottom in national workforce rankings."

Indiana's jobless rate is below the national unemployment rate of 5 percent, but it's the eighth highest out of the 12 Midwestern states. Illinois continues to have the highest jobless rate in the Midwest at 5.7 percent.

Joblessness in the Land of Lincoln rose by 0.3 percentage points in November. The number of unemployed people shot up by 5.1 percent in November, compared to October, as the construction, professional and business services, and education and health services all shed more than 1,000 jobs.

"The increased unemployment rate is primarily the result of more people re-entering the labor force looking for work," said Jeff Mays, Illinois Department of Employment Security director. "While the increase in the unemployment rate is disappointing, our challenge for the coming year is to grow more jobs to create opportunities for more Illinois workers."

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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.