Chesterton Tribune

 

 

State jobless rate down; data mixed in region

Back To Front Page

By KEVIN NEVERS

The state’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate dropped 0.4 percent to 6.4 percent in January, from 6.8 percent in December, and is now at the lowest point since September 2008, when it stood at 6.3 percent, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) said today.

The Indiana’s unemployment rate remains below all neighboring states and is now lower than the national rate by 0.2 percent, DWD added. “Prior to the benchmarking process, the last time Indiana's rate was lower than the national rate was June of 2012.”

Even so, despite a gain of 4,600 jobs in the manufacturing sector, Indiana shed a total of 7,100 private sector jobs in January, “mainly due to the extreme nature of the winter season, which has been cited by the U.S. Federal Reserve as one of the chief causes of employment contraction throughout the country,” DWD said.

“There are many positives to note this month,” DWD Commissioner Scott Sanders said. “Indiana's unemployment rate is not only lower than our neighboring states, but the national rate as well. In addition, 2,700 Hoosiers returned to the labor force and fewer were unemployed in January than at any time since August of 2008, causing our rate to fall almost one-half of a percentage point in one month.”

Sanders also noted that Indiana's 2013 total private-sector job growth number was revised upward by 8,200 jobs to 50,800 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and that despite the extreme winter weather, initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits were nearly 6,000 below January 2013 levels.

Sectors showing gains in January included manufacturing (+4,600); financial activities (+1,400); and professional and business services (+200).

Sectors showing decline in January included trade, transportation and utilities (-4,900); construction (-4,300); private educational and health services (-2,100); and leisure and hospitality (-600).

Total non-farm employment decreased in January by 10,000 jobs.

Regionally, Locally

In Porter County the seasonally unadjusted jobless in January rate rose to 7.1 percent, from 6.9 percent in December (9.3 percent in January 2013). Throughout the county 5,896 people were looking for work in January, an increase of 3.4 percent over December (a decrease of 22.8 percent since January 2013).

In Lake County the unemployment rate in January rose by nearly half a point, to 8.8 percent from 8.4 percent in December (11.3 percent in January 2013). In LaPorte County the unemployment rate in January increased by over half a point, to 9.0 percent from 8.4 percent in December (12.0 percent in January 2013).

In Chesterton the unemployment rate in January also spiked, to 6.6 percent from 5.9 percent in December (8.9 percent in January 2013). A total of 454 people was looking for work in January, an increase of 12.4 percent over December (a decrease of 24.1 percent since January 2013).

In Valparaiso the unemployment rate in January slipped to 6.0 percent, from 6.1 percent in December (8.4 percent in January 2013). A total of 957 people was looking for work in January, a decrease of 1.0 percent from December (a decrease of 27.7 percent from January 2013).

In Portage the unemployment rate in January rose marginally to 8.4 percent, from 8.3 percent in December (10.6 percent in January 2013). A total of 1,499 people was looking for work in January, an increase of 0.5 percent over December (a decrease of 20.3 percent since January 2013).

Unemployment rates elsewhere in January:

* In Gary the rate fell by half a point, to 10.9 percent from 11.4 percent in December (14.3 percent in January 2013).

* In East Chicago the rate rose to 11.0 percent, from 10.9 percent in December (14.3 percent in January 2013).

* In Hammond the rate was unchanged at 8.9 percent, the same as in December (12.0 percent in January 2013).

* The DWD’s data for both Michigan City and LaPorte appear to be corrupt. For Michigan City DWD was reporting an increase of nearly four full points, to 12.3 percent from 8.8 percent (13.2 percent in January 2013); while for LaPorte it was reporting a decrease of nearly five full points, to 3.1 percent from 7.9 percent (10.6 percent in January 2013).

Alternative Measures

The official national unemployment rate in February was 6.7 percent, up from 6.6 percent in December (8.1 percent in February 2013).

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 12.6 percent, down from 12.7 percent in January (14.9 percent in February 2013).

“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 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 3/17/2014