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Unemployment falls to 3.9 percent in Indiana

The Hammond Job Fair at the Hammond Civic Center. Unemployment fell to 3.9 percent in Indiana last month.

Unemployment in Indiana fell to 3.9 percent percent in March, down from 4 percent in February.

“Indiana's unemployment rate continues to drop, and the 3.9 percent rate for March is the lowest it's been since 2001," said Steven Braun, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. "While this is a positive economic indicator, there are thousands of good-paying jobs currently available in Indiana that require in-demand skills. Fortunately, our local WorkOne Career Centers can help unemployed and underemployed Hoosiers with training programs, interview coaching, veteran services and more."

About 12,322 more Hoosiers found employment in March, increasing the state's total labor force to 3.32 million.

Indiana is tied for the 20th lowest unemployment rate in the country, but has the eighth highest joblessness of the 12 Midwestern states. Illinois has the 35th highest jobless rate nationally, but no longer has the highest jobless rate in the Midwest for the first time in years. 

Ohio and Michigan are now tied for most unemployment in the Midwest, with a jobless rate of 5.1 percent. 

Joblessness in Illinois dropped 0.5 percentage points to 4.9 percent in March.

“Illinois payrolls weakened in March, just like they did for the nation,” Illinois Department of Employment Security Director Jeff Mays said. “The usual pattern is that Illinois weakens more than the nation but grows less than the national average when both are on the upswing. This persistent lag in job growth explains why it took 10 years to push the unemployment rate below 5 percent.”

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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.