Indiana unemployment stalls at 4.4 percent

Job seekers line up at the 2009 Manufacturing Industry Job & Resource Fair at the Purdue University Calumet campus. Unemployment in Indiana stood steady at 4.4 percent in December.

Indiana’s unemployment rate stayed at 4.4 percent in December, as total nonfarm employment rose by 2,100 jobs.

Last year, joblessness dropped 1.5 percent in the state over twelve months, though the labor force grew by 37,762, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

“Indiana’s unemployment rate continues to be at its lowest level in more than a decade,” Indiana Department of Workforce Development Commissioner Steven Braun said. “Additionally, claims for unemployment insurance are at their lowest point since 1998.”

The state lost 3,400 manufacturing jobs and another 1,200 private educational and health services jobs in December, but gained 5,200 jobs in trade, transportation and utilities.

Indiana is tied with Missouri for the eighth highest unemployment rate out of the 12 Midwestern states. In the region, only Ohio, Michigan and Illinois have higher rates of joblessness.

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Nationally, unemployment stands at 5 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Indiana reached its peak in joblessness due to the Great Recession at the beginning of 2010, when the unemployment rate was 10.9 percent for two straight months. The U.S. jobless rate reached a high of 10 percent in October 2009.

Illinois continued to have the highest rate of unemployment in the Midwest after it rose to 5.9 percent in December, up from 5.7 percent the previous month. The Land of Lincoln lost 16,300 jobs last month, and the state does not expect to recover pre-Great Recession unemployment levels until Sept. 2017.

“For the first time since 2009, Illinois ended a year with fewer jobs than when we started,” Illinois Department of Employment Security Jeff Mays said. “Even as the nation gained more than 2.6 million jobs in 2015, Illinois lost 3,000.”


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.