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Indiana unemployment rate stays steady at 3.6 percent

Veterans participate in a Veterans Career Transition Fair in 2011 at the Jean Shepherd Community Center in Hammond. The jobless rate in Indiana stood steady at 3.6 percent last month.

Indiana's unemployment rate stood steady at 3.6 percent in December, which was lower than the national jobless rate of 3.9 percent but high for the Midwest.

The Hoosier state added 12,200 jobs in December, including 4,200 in private education and health services, 3,900 in construction, and 1,500 in the leisure and hospitality sector, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

Indiana gained 42,700 jobs last year, reaching a new preliminary record of private employment of 2,731,600 in December. It was 42,700 more people employed by the private sector than during the official record set in December 2017.

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The state ranked 21st nationwide in joblessness. Indiana ranked 9th out of the 12 U.S. Census Bureau-designated Midwestern states, trailing Iowa, North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Missouri and Kansas. It was ahead of only Michigan, Ohio and Illinois, which ranked 40th nationally with a jobless rate of 4.3 percent.

Indiana has a 65.1 percent labor force participation rate, and had a net increase of 1,543 people in December who were either employed or actively seeking work, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. Indiana added another 1,460 employed residents and 83 more unemployed residents in the market for a job last month.

The state's labor force now totals 3.4 million, with a participation rate that's higher than the national average of 63.1 percent.

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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.