Chesterton Tribune

Jobless rates ease locally after three straight months of spikes

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By KEVIN NEVERS

Indiana continued a steady trend of private sector expansion in February, adding 5,800 jobs, maintaining a streak of growth dating back to July 2011, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) said in a statement released on Monday.

The unemployment rate in February upticked to 8.7 percent from 8.6 percent in January.

“February marked the 38th month of private sector increases in the 42 months since July 2009, the low point of employment in Indiana,” DWD said. “In that period, Indiana has added more than 188,000 private sector jobs, nearly 65,000 of which have been in the manufacturing sector alone. Over the past year manufacturing job growth in Indiana has more than tripled the national average (3.3 percent versus 0.9 percent).

But, DWD added, “For the second month in a row, Indiana also experienced a significant swell in the labor force, adding 7,500 Hoosiers, 3,800 of which were unemployed individuals who began looking for work again. The sizable labor force increase in February once again drove an uptick in the unemployment rate, which crept up 0.1 percent from January to 8.7 percent. The January and February labor force increase of nearly 22,000 people is the largest two month climb in nearly 20 years.”

“While the extraordinary jump in the Hoosier labor force over the past two months tells us folks are optimistic about Indiana’s economic recovery, the unemployment rate is still too high,” said DWD Commissioner Scott Sanders. “Job growth is certainly moving in the right direction, but there is definitely a good deal more work to do.”

Sanders also noted initial unemployment claims are now at their lowest levels in eight years.

Sectors showing significant gains in February were manufacturing (+3,400); construction (+2,700); trade, transportation and utilities (+1,400); and financial activities (+1,100).

Sectors showing significant declines in February were private educational and health services (-1,000); and leisure and hospitality (-800).

Total non-farm employment increased in February (9,300).

Regionally, Locally

If the state’s jobless rate rose marginally in February, the seasonally adjusted rates in Northwest Indiana on the whole dipped, after three straight months of spiking.

In Porter County the unemployment rate in February fell to 9.0 percent, from 9.3 percent in January (8.1 percent in February 2012). Throughout the county, 7,396 people were looking for work in February, a decrease of 3.1 percent from January (an increase of 11.4 percent since February 2012).

In Lake County the unemployment rate in February dipped to 11.2 percent, from 11.3 percent in January (9.8 percent in February 2012). In LaPorte County the unemployment rate in February was unchanged, 12.0 percent, the same as in January (10.9 percent in February 2012).

In Chesterton the unemployment rate in February dropped by nearly half a point, to 8.5 percent from 8.9 percent in January (7.9 percent in February 2012). A total of 572 people was looking for work in February, a decrease of 4.3 percent from January (an increase of 7.9 percent since February 2012).

In Valparaiso the unemployment rate in February fell to 8.2 percent, from 8.4 percent in January (7.6 percent in February 2012). A total of 1,296 people was looking for work in February, a decrease of 2.0 percent from January (an increase of 7.5 percent since February 2012).

In Portage the unemployment rate in February dropped fully half a point, to 10.1 percent from 10.6 percent in January (9.2 percent in February 2012). A total of 1,782 people was looking for work in February, a decrease of 5.2 percent from January (an increase of 9.5 percent since February 2012).

Unemployment rate elsewhere in February:

*In Gary the rate rose to 14.6 percent, from 14.3 percent in January (13.1 percent in February 2012).

*In East Chicago the rate dipped to 14.1 percent, from 14.3 percent in January (12.1 percent in February 2012).

*In Hammond the rate fell by nearly half a point, to 11.6 percent from 12.0 percent in January (10.3 percent in February 2012).

*In Michigan City the rate also fell by nearly half a point, to 12.8 percent from 13.2 percent in January (11.7 percent in February 2012).

*In LaPorte the rate rose to 11.0 percent, from 10.6 percent in January (11.3 percent in February 2012).

Alternative Measures

The official national unemployment rate in February was 7.7 percent, down from 7.9 percent in January (8.7 percent in February 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 February was 14.3 percent, down from 14.4 percent in January (15.6 percent in February 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.”

 

 

4/2/2013