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Unemployment rises in Indiana for third straight month

People tour the booths at The Times Diversity Business Symposium and Job Fair at Avalon Manor in Hobart last year. Joblessness rose to 3.5 percent in Indiana in August.

Unemployment in Indiana rose to 3.5 percent in August, the third straight month it has increased.

The Hoosier state added 2,595 to its ranks of employed residents and 8,491 to its list of unemployed last month, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. Indiana's workforce — the total number of people working or actively seeking work — stands at 3.3 million, with about 65 percent of the state's population participating.

Indiana has added 27,600 private sector jobs so far in 2018, including 3,600 jobs in August, according to the DWD. The Hoosier state gained 2,300 jobs in the financial activities sector and 1,600 in construction, but lost 2,000 in manufacturing.

Overall, more than 2.7 million Indiana residents currently hold private sector jobs, an all-time high.

Nationally, Indiana had the 18th lowest unemployment rate in August. It was ninth out of the 12 U.S. Census-designated Midwestern states, trailing Iowa, North Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Kansas and Missouri.

Illinois ranked 10th in the Midwest and 32nd in the nation in joblessness.

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Joblessness in the neighboring Land of Lincoln dropped to 4.1 percent in August, down from 4.2 percent in July and 4.5 percent in June, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

“Illinois’ unemployment rate stood at 4.1 percent in August, matching the lowest rate on record,” IDES Director Jeff Mays said. “Even with the over-the-month drop, nonfarm payrolls have surpassed the prior business cycle peak of September 2000. Jobs are still up more than 47,000 over the year, led by manufacturing.”

Illinois has gained an average of 8,300 jobs a month between May and July. In August, the state gained 900 jobs in the professional and business services sector, 400 in trade, transportation and utilities and 400 in financial activities. The Land of Lincoln lost 3,600 jobs in leisure and hospitality, 1,300 in education and health services and 1,200 in construction.

So far this year, Illinois has added 47,500 jobs.

Its jobless rate is now only slightly higher than the national average of 3.9 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.