Chesterton Tribune

 
 

Jobless rates continue to spike locally and across the region

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By KEVIN NEVERS

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) is professing bafflement in the results of the federal government’s employment survey, which shows an uptick in the state’s jobless rate despite continued increases in employment.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics survey shows a 0.3 percent increase in Indiana’s unemployment rate, to 8.6 percent from 8.3 in December.

“Indiana added 8,200 private sector jobs in January, marking the 19th consecutive month of job growth,” DWD said. “Over the past month the Hoosier State accounted for nearly 6 percent of the nation’s private sector employment increase while adding jobs at three times the national rate (0.3 percent versus 0.1 percent). Since July 2009, the low point of employment in the state, Indiana continues to outpace the national average for private sector growth (7.9 percent versus 4.9 percent).”

Even so, “while Indiana experienced significant job gains in January, the 1,000-household survey used by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated the unemployment rate rose 0.3 percent to 8.6 percent, due to the labor force increasing by nearly 14,000 individuals, more than 10,000 of which returned to look for work over the month. January’s increase signifies the largest one-month expansion of our labor force since November 1993,” DWD said.

“It’s quite encouraging Indiana seems to be continuing the trend of private sector job growth into 2013,” DWD Commissioner Scott Sanders said. “However, it is very confusing when BLS has survey data from 5,000 businesses showing continued increases in employment, while the household survey continues to show employment below what businesses are reporting.”

Sanders also noted that BLS revised Indiana’s December private sector job growth upward by more than 19,000 in January due to its annual benchmark process.

Sectors showing significant gains in January were professional and business services (+5,700); leisure and hospitality (+2,200); all other (+1,600); and trade, transportation and utilities (+800).

Sectors showing significant declines were financial activities (-1,000); and construction (-900).

Total non-farm employment increased in January (+5,800).

Regionally, Locally

If the state’s jobless rate rose marginally in January, the seasonally unadjusted rates in Northwest Indiana skyrocketed, as they did both in December and in November 2012.

In Porter County the unemployment rate in January rose by a full point, to 9.3 percent from 8.3 percent in December (8.4 percent in January 2012). Throughout the county, 7,638 people were looking for work in January, an increase of 12.4 percent over December (an increase of 11.1 percent since January 2012).

In Lake County the unemployment rate in January swelled by more than a full point, to 11.3 percent from 10.1 percent in December (10.1 percent in January 2012). In LaPorte County the unemployment rate in January increased by fully a point and a half, to 12.0 percent from 10.5 percent in December (11.1 percent in January 2012).

In Chesterton the unemployment rate in January spiked by more than a full point, to 8.9 percent from 7.8 percent in December (8.3 percent in January 2012). A total of 602 people was looking for work in January, an increase of 14 percent over December (an increase of 11.5 percent since January 2012).

In Valparaiso the unemployment rate in January increased to 8.4 percent, from 7.6 percent in December (7.8 percent in January 2012). A total of 1,325 people was looking for work in January, an increase of 11.2 percent (an increase of 6.8 percent since January 2012).

In Portage the unemployment rate in January rose to 10.5 percent, from 9.6 percent in December (9.6 percent in January 2012). A total of 1,874 people was looking for work in January, an increase of 9.6 percent over December (an increase of 9.9 percent since January 2012).

Unemployment rates elsewhere in January:

•In Gary the rate rose to 14.3 percent, from 13.4 percent in December (14.0 percent in January 2012).

•In East Chicago the rate rose to 14.3 percent, from 12.9 percent in December (12.9 percent in January 2012).

•In Hammond the rate increased to 12.0 percent, from 10.8 percent in December (10.8 percent in January 2012).

•In Michigan City the rate spiked to 13.1 percent, from 11.6 percent in December (12.1 percent in January 2012).

•In LaPorte the rate jumped to 10.6 percent, from 9.3 percent in December (11.8 percent in January 2012).

Alternative Measures

The official national unemployment rate in January was 7.9 percent, down from 7.8 percent in December (8.5 percent in January 2012).

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 January was 14.4 percent, the same as in December (15.4 percent in January 2012).

“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 work for several reasons, including their belief that no job is available for 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 3/20/2013