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Unemployment stays steady in Indiana, ticks up in Illinois

The gymnasium full of job seekers and employers at Hammond’s 12th Annual Job Fair in 2015. Unemployment stood at 3.5 percent in Indiana last month.

Unemployment in Indiana stood steady at 3.5 percent last month.

The Hoosier state added 2,892 more employed residents and 2,411 more unemployed residents in October, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

Indiana has added 25,500 jobs so far this year, including 3,400 more jobs in October, the DWD reported. The state added 2,500 jobs in private educational and health services and 1,500 in the construction sector last month, but lost 2,500 jobs in leisure and hospitality.

About 2.71 million people were employed in Indiana in October, which is about 24,300 more than the previous historic peak in December 2017.

Indiana's jobless rate is lower than the national average of 3.7 percent. It's the 20th lowest jobless rate nationally, but is the ninth highest of the 12 Midwestern states, trailing Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Missouri and Kansas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Illinois' jobless rate of 4.2 percent is the 39th highest nationally and the second highest in the Midwest, ahead of only Ohio. It's up from 4.1 percent in September.

“Nonfarm payrolls were up over the month led by gains in trade, transportation and utilities, information and manufacturing," Illinois Department of Employment Security Director Jeff Mays said. “The unemployment rate was about unchanged in October, inching up only slightly, but lower than it was a year ago.”

Illinois has added 59,300 jobs this year, including 3,000 in October. That included 5,300 in trade, transportation and ytilities, 2,000 in information services and 1,300 in manufacturing.

“We are excited to see Illinois’ unemployment rate continue to decline over the year,” said Leslie Munger, acting director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. “We are experiencing the benefits of working to create a more business friendly environment and expanding new training and apprenticeship opportunities for those entering the workforce.”

IllinoisJoblink.com lists 199,099 available jobs in the state.

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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.