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Indiana's unemployment rate falls in June as private sector employment hits tentative record

Workers work on and move car bodies along the assembly line at the Ford Assembly Plant in Chicago. The unemployment rate stood at 3.7% nationally in June.

Indiana's unemployment rate dropped to 3.5% in June after being stuck at 3.6% for three straight months.

Private sector employment grew by 6,800 in June and is up by 37,000 over the course of the year, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. Private employment hit a tentative record of 2.75 million, which is 18,600 more than the official record set in December, but that figure could be revised later by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In June, the Hoosier state added 5,000 jobs in Private Educational and Health Services and 1,100 in Professional and Business Services but lost 700 jobs in the Manufacturing sector and 500 in Construction.

Indiana's labor force, or the total number of people who are employed or actively looking for work, shrunk by 10,126 in June as a result of the decrease of 7,003 employed residents and 3,123 unemployed residents in search of work, according to the Department of Workforce Development. The state's workforce stands at 3.39 million with a 64.8% labor force participation rate that's higher than the national average.

Nationally, Indiana was tied in June with Alabama, Arkansas, Montana, New Jersey, South Carolina, Wyoming and Rhode Island for the 23rd highest jobless rate nationally. The national unemployment rate stood at 3.7% last month.

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Indiana ranked ninth out of the 12 U.S. Census Bureau-designated Midwestern states, trailing North Dakota, Iowa, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Minnesota, Missouri and Kansas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Only Ohio, Michigan and Illinois had higher jobless rates in the Midwest.

Neighboring Illinois had the highest unemployment rate in the Midwest and 43rd highest nationally at 4.3%, which was down 0.1% compared to the previous month and unchanged when compared to the same point a year ago.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security estimates the state had added 10,700 jobs between April and June, including 3,800 in Leisure and Hospitality, 3,000 in Professional and Business Services, and 1,500 in Government.

So far this year, Illinois has added 79,200 jobs, including 19,400 in the Professional and Business Services Sector, 18,100 in Leisure and Hospitality, and 15,200 in Education and Health Services.

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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.