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Unemployment rate falls by 0.3 percent in Indiana

Job applications and information for the Gap Factory Store sit on a table during a job fair at Dolphin Mall in Miami last May. Indiana's unemployment rate fell to 3.4 percent in December.

Indiana's jobless rate dropped to 3.4 percent in December from 3.7 percent in November.

Private sector employment grew by 6,000 workers last month, with the addition of 4,700 jobs in manufacturing and 3,500 jobs in educational and health services, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

Indiana lost 4,100 jobs in professional and business services, and 1,900 in financial activities.

A total of 2.69 million Hoosiers are now employed. The state's workforce, however, declined by 14,195 workers in December, as compared to November.

"This was a result of 10,696 unemployed residents no longer seeking employment within the past four weeks, and a 3,499 decrease in residents employed," the Indiana Department of Workforce Development said in a news release. "Indiana's total labor force, which includes both Hoosiers employed and those seeking employment, stands at 3.30 million, and the state’s 63.6 percent labor force participation rate remains above the national rate of 62.7 percent."

Indiana's jobless rate was below the national average at 4.1 percent. Indiana was 14th nationwide and sixth out of the 12 U.S. Census-designated Midwestern states, trailing North Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. 

Illinois's jobless rate of 4.8 percent was 45th nationally and the highest in the Midwest. Unemployment in the Land of Lincoln did decline by 1 percent in December after the addition of 4,100 jobs in government, 2,600 in other services and 2,200 in construction, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

"The unemployment rate dropped in December, even as the labor force increased in the final quarter of the year," IDES Director Jeff Mays said. “Payrolls overall have now increased by about a half-percent over the year to date, which is an additional 29,600 jobs.”

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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.