Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Happier times: State jobless rate stable in February, trending down in NWI

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By KEVIN NEVERS

In February, mere days before the COVID-19 pandemic began to throttle the nation’s economy, the state recorded a jobless rate of 3.1 percent, the same as in January (3.5 percent in February 2019), the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) is reporting.

The 3,1-percent rate remained lower than the 3.5-percent national rate.

Indiana’s labor force had a net increase of 3,114 over January, the result of a decrease of 1,599 unemployed residents and an increase of 4,713 employed residents. Indiana’s total labor force, which includes both Hoosiers employed and those seeking employment, stood at 3,39 million in February, while the state’s 64.4-percent labor-participation rate remained above the national average of 63.4 percent.

Private sector employment has decreased by 800 from 2019 but increased by 3,900 over January. This monthly increase is chiefly due to gains in private education and health services (+2,300); and in construction (+1,600). Those gains were partially offset by losses in trade, transportation, and utilities (-500); and professional and business services (-300).

Total private employment in February was 2,748,000, which is 1,300 jobs below the January 2019 peak.

Regionally and Locally

Here in Northwest Indiana the unemployment rate in February was almost uniformly down.

In Porter County the seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate in February was 4.1 percent, down from 4.3 percent in January (4.6 percent in February 2019).

In Lake County the unemployment rate in February was 5.1 percent, down from 5.3 percent in January (5.8 percent in February 2019). In LaPorte County the unemployment rate in February was 4.7 percent, down from 4.8 percent in January (5.9 percent in February 2019).

In Chesterton the unemployment rate in February was 3.9 percent, down more than half a point from 4.5 percent in January (4.1 percent in February 2019).

In Valparaiso the unemployment rate in February was 3.7 percent, down from 4.8 percent in January (4.1 percent in February 2019).

In Portage the unemployment rate in February was 4.8 percent, down from 5.0 percent in January (5.2 percent in February 2019).

Unemployment rates elsewhere in February:

-- In Gary the rate was 6.5 percent, down from 6.8 percent in January (7.0 percent in February 2019).

-- In East Chicago the rate was 6.7 percent, down half a point from 7.2 percent in January (7.6 percent in February 2019).

-- In Hammond the rate was 5.7 percent, down from 5.8 percent in January (6.4 percent in February 2019).

-- In Michigan City the rate was stable at 4.7 percent, the same as in January (5.9 percent in February 2019).

-- In LaPorte the rate was stable at 4.9 percent, the same as in January (6.2 percent in February 2019).

Alternative Measures

The national unemployment rate in February was 3.5 percent, down from 3.6 percent in January (4.1 percent in February 2019).

However--according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics--if “discouraged workers,” all other “marginally attached workers,” and “total part-time for economic reasons” are included in the tally, then the unofficial unemployment rate in Febriuary was 7.0 percent, up from 6.9 percent in January (7.0 percent in February 2019).

Marginally attached workers are those who “indicate that they want a job, have looked for a job 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 work for several reasons, including their belief that no job is available to them in their line 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 3/31/2020

 
 
 
 

 

 

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