Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Jobless rate in Indiana inched up prior to shelter-in-place order

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By KEVIN NEVERS

The state’s jobless rate in March--based on a survey conducted on March 12--rose nominally to 3.2 percent, from 3.1 percent in February (3.5 percent in March 2019), the Indiana Department of Workforce Development is reporting.

The information on which March unemployment numbers are based was collected 11 days before Gov. Eric Holcomb issued his shelter-in-place order.

The monthly unemployment rate is a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicator reflecting the number of unemployed people seeking employment within the prior four weeks as a percentage of the labor force.

Indiana’s labor force saw a net decrease of 119,073 in March. This was a result of a decrease of 391 unemployed residents and a decrease of 118,682 employed residents. Indiana’s total labor force, which includes both Hoosiers employed and those seeking employment, stands at 3.27 million, while the 62.2 percent labor force participation rate for the first time in years fell below the national rate of 62.7 percent.

Private sector employment has decreased by 17,800 over the year and by 18,700 over the previous March. This decrease is chiefly due to losses in leisure and hospitality (-7,400); trade, transportation, and utilties (-4,200); and manufacturing (-2,600).

Total private employment stands at 2,727,300, which is 22,000 below the January 2019 peak.

Regional and Locally

Meanwhile, in Northwest Indiana, unemployment rates in March were distinctly mixed.

In Porter County the seasonlly unadjusted unemployment rate in March was stable at 4.1 percent, the same as in February (4.9 percent in March 2019).

In Lake County the unemployment rate in March was 6.6 percent, up from 6.5 percent in February (10 percent in March 2019). In LaPorte County the unemployment rate in March fell to 4.5 percent, from 4.7 percent in February (5.7 percent in March 2019).

In Chesterton the unemployment rate in March was stable at 3.8 percent, the same as in February (4.0 percent in March 2019).

In Valparaiso the unemployment rate in March was up, to 3.8 percent from 3.7 percent in February (4.2 percent in March 2019).

In Portage the unemployment rate in March was also up fractionally, to 4.9 percent from 4.8 percent in February (3.9 percent in March 2019).

Unemployment rates elsewhere in March:

-- In Gary the rate was up, to 6.6 percent from 6.5 percent in February (10.0 percent in March 2019).

-- In East Chicago the rate jumped by more than half a point, to 7.4 percent from 6.7 percent in February (10.2 percent in March 2019).

-- In Hammond the rate was stable at 5.7 percent, the same as in February (8.0 percent in March 2019).

-- In Michigan City the rate fell to 4.5. percent, from 4.7 percent in February (5.7 percent in March 2019).

-- In LaPorte the rate jumped by more than half a point, to 4.5 percent from 3.8 percent in February (3.9 percent in March 2019).

Alternative Measures

The national unemployment rate in March spiked by nearly a full point, to 4.4 percent from 3.5 percent in February (3.9 percent in March 2019).

However--according to 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 March jumped by nearly two full points, to 8.7 percent from 7.0 percent in February (7.5 percent in March 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 those who 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 work but have had to settle for a part-time schedule.”

 

Posted 4/21/2020

 
 
 
 

 

 

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