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Indiana unemployment rate plunged to 4.3% in December, but state lost nearly 70K jobs last year

Indiana unemployment rate plunged to 4.3% in December, but state lost nearly 70K jobs last year

Indiana's unemployment rated ticked up to 4% in May

The Illinois Department of Employment Security office in Springfield in shown in 2016.

Indiana's unemployment rate plunged to 4.3% in December, down from 5% in November, while the national rate stayed steady at 6.7%. 

Indiana's labor force — the total number of people working and actively seeking work — grew by 83,609 in December, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. A total of 23,903 fewer Hoosiers were unemployed last month, and 107,512 more found employment.

Indiana's unemployment rate finally fell under 10% in July, five months into the coronavirus pandemic that swept the globe.

A total of 3.34 million Hoosiers — or about 64% — are participating in the labor force, according to the DWD. A total of 2.66 million Hoosiers were employed in the private sector.

Private-sector employment in Indiana fell by 69,900 jobs last year, increasing by 17,400 in December. In the final month of 2020, the Hoosier state gained 8,400 jobs in Trade, Transportation and Utilities and 5,800 in Professional and Business Services. Indiana, however, lost 1,100 jobs in Leisure and Hospitality and 200 in Private Education and Health Services last month.

Unemployment rose by 0.7 percentage point to 7.6% in December in neighboring Illinois. That's about 3.9 percentage points higher than the jobless rate of 3.7% a year ago, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

Illinois lost 2,500 jobs in December. The state lost 40,900 jobs in Leisure and Hospitality, 1,300 in Information and 800 in other services. It gained 13,000 jobs in Professional and Business Services, 10,100 in Trade, Transportation and Utilities, and 8,3000 in Construction.

In December, Indiana had the sixth highest unemployment rate in the 12 U.S. Census Bureau-designated Midwest states, trailing Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, Kansas and North Dakota. Illinois had the highest jobless rate in the Midwest, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Indiana ranked 11th nationally and Illinois 41st.

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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.

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