Uric Dufrene-1

Uric Dufrene, Sanders Chair of Business at IUS

SOUTHERN INDIANA — Gains in the labor force coupled with a decline in the unemployment rate equated to an overall positive December jobs report for the state.

Indiana’s jobless rate dipped from 5.1% in November to 4.3% in December, a report released this week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed.

Indiana added 93,000 workers to the labor force and added 14,700 jobs last month. The report was seasonally-adjusted to account for holiday hiring.

“Gains were spread across all sectors, with the largest gains occurring in trade, transportation and utilities and professional and business services,” said Uric Dufrene, Sanders Chair in Business at Indiana University Southeast.

“There were small declines in leisure and hospitality and government.”

The number of unemployed Hoosiers dropped by about 24,000 from November to December.

“To the contrary, Kentucky saw an increase in its unemployment rate, from 5.7% to 6%,” Dufrene said.

“This occurred with the labor force declining by 1,000 and the number of unemployed expanding by 6,000. The number of jobs declined by 9,100.”

Two sectors — leisure and hospitality and government — accounted for the majority of the losses in Kentucky. The sectors saw a combined loss of 18,000 positions in December.

Dufrene pointed out that while job changes were essentially flat in 24 states, the report showed significant decreases elsewhere.

“Large job gains were observed in Texas, Georgia and North Carolina,” he said. “Large job losses occurred in Michigan, California and Minnesota.”

Dufrene continued that given a national decline in payrolls, decreases for any state were to be expected.

“The payroll gains for Indiana along with gains to the labor force and the reduction in the unemployment are impressive,” he said. “Significant challenges remain, but the state continues to make solid progress in the labor market.”

For the week ending Jan. 16, Floyd County had 189 initial unemployment claims. The county had 424 continuing unemployment claims for the week ending Jan. 9.

Clark County had 828 continuing unemployment claims for the week ending Jan. 9, and 312 initial claims for the week ending Jan. 16.

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