Chesterton Tribune

Indiana jobless rate edges up in July, mixed numbers locally and regionally

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The state’s jobless rate officially rose to 8.2 percent in July, from 8.0 percent in June, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) said in a statement released on Friday.

For the ninth consecutive month Indiana added private sector jobs—with July’s increase totaling 3,300— while in the year-to-date the state’s rate of job growth (1.7 percent) continues to exceed the U.S. average (1.0 percent), DWD said.

Since July 2009, the low point of employment, Indiana has added more than 143,000 private sector jobs and has significantly outpaced the national rate of growth during this period (6.2 percent versus 3.4 percent), while over the same period manufacturing jobs in the Hoosier state have increased by more than 60,000 or by 14.1 percent.

“Total non-farm employment in Indiana also increased by 10,700 in July, with 7,600 of the jobs coming from the government sector, which had a decrease of 6,700 jobs in June,” DWD said. “Another anomaly was the federal government’s analysis of Indiana’s unemployment rate, which increased to 8.2 percent based on a 1,000 household survey showing over 25,000 Hoosiers that worked in June were not working in July and no longer in the labor force.”

“We have raised several questions with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics about discrepancies in June and July’s labor force data,” said DWD Commissioner Scott Sanders. “The numbers seem to indicate nearly 46,000 Hoosiers went from gainfully employed in May to missing from the labor force in July, with no explanation.”

Sanders also noted that while monthly data is volatile, the more reliable long-term numbers show Indiana is still significantly outperforming the U.S. average for private sector job growth (1.7 percent versus 1.0 percent), manufacturing growth (3.2 percent versus 1.5 percent) and nearly every other employment sector in 2012.

Sectors showing gains in July were government (+7,600); construction (+2,400); leisure and hospitality (+900), private education and health services (+800); and professional and business services (+700).

Sectors showing declines were trade, transportation, and utilities (-1,200); financial activities (-400); and manufacturing (-200).

Total non-farm employment increased in July (10,700).

Regionally, Locally

In Porter County the unemployment rate in July remained steady at 7.7 percent, the same as in June (7.9 percent in July 2011). Throughout the county, 6,318 people were looking for work, a decrease of 0.5 percent since June (a decrease of 4.8 percent since July 2011).

In Lake County the unemployment rate in July rose to 9.6 percent, from 9.4 percent in June (10.1 percent in July 2011). In LaPorte County the unemployment rate in July increased to 9.8 percent, from 9.6 percent in June (10.3 percent in July 2011).

Chesterton—which continues to post the lowest unemployment rate in Northwest Indiana—the unemployment rate in July dropped to 6.4 percent, from 6.5 percent in June (7.1 percent in July 2011). A total of 408 people was looking for work in June, a decrease of 3.5 percent since June (a decrease of 12.4 percent since July 2011).

In Valparaiso the unemployment rate in July also dropped, to 7.9 percent from 8.1 percent in June (7.5 percent in July 2011). A total of 1,257 people was looking for work in July, a decrease of 3.2 percent from June (an increase of 3.7 percent since July 2011).

In Portage the unemployment rate in July rose to 9.4 percent, from 9.2 percent in June (9.5 percent in July 2011). A total of 1,687 people was looking for work in July, an increase of 1.8 percent over June (a decrease of 2.5 percent since July 2011).

Unemployment rates elsewhere in July:

•In Gary rate increased to 14.2 percent, from 14.0 percent in June (15.9 percent in July 2011).

•In East Chicago rate slipped to 15.7 percent, from 15.8 percent in June (15.7 percent in July 2011).

•In Hammond the rate increased to 9.7 percent, from 9.5 percent in June (10.4 percent in July 2011).

•In Michigan City the rate rose to 11.4 percent, from 11.3 percent in June (11.9 percent in July 2011).

•In LaPorte the rate rose to 10.0 percent, from 9.9 percent in June (10.6 percent in July 2011).

Alternative Measures

The official national unemployment rate in July rose to 8.3 percent, from 8.2 percent in June (9.3 percent in July 2011).

However—according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics—if “discouraged workers,” all other “marginally attached workers,” and “total employed part-time for economic reasons” are included in the tally, the unofficial unemployment rate in July was 15.0 percent, up from 14.9 percent in June (16.3 percent in July 2011).

“Marginally attached workers” are those “who indicate that they want a job, have looked for work in the last 12 months (or since the last time they worked if they worked in the last 12 months), and are available for work.”

“Discouraged workers” are not currently looking for several reasons, including their belief that no job is available for them in their line of work or in their area.

“Persons employed part-time for economic reasons” are those “who want and are available for full-time work but have had to settle for a part-time schedule.”

Posted 8/20/2012