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Afternoon events will focus on career fair

 Cyndi Harbin with NWI Society for Human Resource Management helps job seekers at the Resume Critique offered at the 2016 Diversity Career Fair.

Unemployment stayed steady in Indiana and Illinois last month.

Indiana's jobless rate stood at 3.5 percent in September. The Hoosier state added 2,500 jobs, largely because of a gain of 2,400 jobs in the trade, transportation and utilities sector, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

Indiana did, however, lose 1,300 jobs in manufacturing, one of the Region's biggest sectors, and 1,000 in private educational and health services in September. The state's labor force grew by 4,564 people and the labor participation rate stands at 65.1 percent. 

So far this year, private sector employment in Indiana has grown by 26,400, the DWD reported.

The state's jobless rate remained lower than the national average of 3.7 percent and has been consistently lower than the nation's jobless rate for five years.

Indiana has the 18th lowest jobless rate nationally, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But it is relatively high for the Midwest, ranking ninth out of the 12 U.S. Census Bureau-designated Midwestern states, trailing Iowa, North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Missouri and Kansas.

Illinois' rate of 4.1 percent — the lowest it's been since 1999 — was 32nd nationally and second highest in the Midwest, ahead of only Ohio.

“Nonfarm payrolls were up over the month, led by gains in education and health services and manufacturing, and jobs were also up over 50,000 from a year ago," Illinois Department of Employment Security Director Jeff Mays said. “Illinois’ unemployment rate at 4.1 percent in September again matched the record low for the state.”

Illinois nonfarm payrolls increased by 2,800 jobs in September, as the state gained 3,300 jobs in education and health services and 2,300 in manufacturing. The Land of Lincoln has added 50,300 jobs so far this year, including 14,600 in manufacturing.

“Over the last year, Illinois has experienced a steady decrease in unemployment,” Illinois Department of Commerce Acting Director Leslie Munger said. “We are thrilled to see opportunity and investment expand across all communities in the state due to an increased focus on supporting our small businesses and marketing our assets to companies around the globe looking to expand.”

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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.