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Unemployment falls in Indiana, Illinois

Hammond Morton senior Edgar Gonzalez, from left, E.C. Central junior Areli Enriquez and E.C. Central senior Guillermo Dominguez talk to R.D. Parpart, of ArcelorMittal, about the company's Steelworker of the Future program.

Unemployment in Indiana fell to 3.3 percent in January, down from 3.4 percent the previous month.

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development reported that private-sector employment in the state increased by 3,000 in January, largely because of 2,400 additional construction jobs and 1,700 more jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector.

Indiana lost 700 jobs in the professional and business services sector in January, and another 1,500 in mining, logging, information technology and other services.

Overall, the Hoosier state gained 24,400 new jobs last year, according to DWD. The state has a workforce of 3.31 million people who are employed or actively seeking work. Indiana's unemployment rate is lower than the national average of 4.1 percent and has largely been lower than the national average for four years.

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Indiana has the 12th lowest jobless rate nationally and the fifth lowest out of the 12 Midwestern states, trailing only North Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Illinois has the 44th lowest jobless rate nationally and the highest in the Midwest, though joblessness in the Land of Lincoln dropped 0.1 percentage points to 4.8 percent in January. The state added 47,100 jobs last year, including 20,200 in manufacturing.

“Illinois job growth over the past year has been spurred by a resurgence in manufacturing.” Illinois Department of Employment Services Director Jeff Mays said. “Over the year, manufacturing payrolls accounted for close to half of the total increase of jobs in Illinois.”

Illinois' jobless rate is 0.7 percentage points higher than the national average but down 0.4 percentage points as compared to the same time last year.

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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.