INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Indiana’s unemployment rate crept up in January even as
more residents re-entered the workforce, according to federal figures
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly report shows unemployment rose to
8.6 percent in January from 8.3 percent the month before. The state added
8,200 private sector jobs and saw its workforce increase by 14,000 as 10,000
residents returned to the job search.
BLS economist Thomas Krolik said states often see a temporary uptick in the
unemployment rate after recessions as confidence in the job market improves
and people renew their job searches. The unemployment rate counts residents
who are actively seeking work and does not include every resident who is out
But state Workforce Development Commissioner Scott Sanders questioned the
federal report, saying it probably overstated the state’s unemployment rate.
He pointed to a recent change in different BLS measures of employment that
he said don’t make sense.
“It’s quite encouraging Indiana seems to be continuing the trend of private
sector job growth into 2013,” Sanders said in a statement. “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.”
BLS calculates unemployment using a measure based on responses from
households. It uses two measures to track the jobs themselves, asking 5,000
businesses in each state for their payroll information and also tracking the
number of jobs filled by each household.
The number of jobs reported by businesses was usually slightly less each
month than the jobs reported by Indiana households. But that flipped early
The change could mean that before, slightly more people lived in Indiana and
commuted to jobs in Illinois, Kentucky or elsewhere, but now there are more
jobs in Indiana and commuters trek to them from out-of-state, Krolik said.
“Indiana became relatively more of a hub for jobs and people commuting
across state lines,” he said.
Krolik pointed to Washington, D.C., as the best example of that dynamic.
Roughly twice as many people commute to jobs from the Washington suburbs in
Maryland and Virginia than live and work in the city.