Uric Dufrene (copy) (copy)

Uric Dufrene

SOUTHERN INDIANA — While Indiana saw another decline in its unemployment rate, Kentucky had the largest month-over-month increase according to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Friday.

Indiana’s jobless mark dropped from 6.3% in September to 5% in October. The state’s unemployment rate was 3.2% in October 2019.

Kentucky’s unemployment rate increased from 5.6% in September to 7.4% in October. Kentucky’s jobless mark was 4.3% at the same time last year.

But while Indiana’s labor force shrank by about 7,000 people last month, Kentucky’s rose by 63,000.

“Unfortunately, not all could find work, and the number of unemployed increased by 38,000,” said Uric Dufrene, Sanders Chair in Business at Indiana University Southeast, in regard to Kentucky’s labor force.

“The big increase in the labor force for Kentucky does bring some optimism.”

Though it’s not nearly as sizable as the record-setting growth in June, when Indiana added 137,000 jobs as businesses began to reopen, the Hoosier state did add 18,000 positions in October.

“Under normal conditions, that would be viewed as a very strong month,” Dufrene said.

“Indiana continues to chip away at the 400,000 payrolls decline that occurred back in April. With the latest 18,000 addition of jobs, Indiana is down approximately 100,000 jobs from last year.”

But with states tightening restrictions on businesses, unemployment rates could increase.

“In the near term, we can likely expect some additional layoffs due to the virus resurgence,” Dufrene said. “This will occur primarily in leisure and hospitality. The extent of the damage will rest on the length of recent business restrictions.”

The NFIB Research Center released industry survey results this week that showed slight optimism index increases in construction, manufacturing and services, while retail remained relatively flat.

Construction firms showed the most optimism about the economy and growth among small businesses across the sectors based on record-low interest rates and a shortfall of housing inventory, the survey showed.

Manufacturing showed it was continuing to recover from supply interruptions while the services sector showed above average earning trends.

Of the small businesses surveyed, 75% indicated they would apply or consider applying for a second round of Paycheck Protection Program funding.

“The numbers in this survey make the situation very clear. While some sectors of Indiana’s economy feel optimism about the way things are heading, other industries have been harder hit and need another round of stimulus at the federal level,” said Barbara Quant, NFIB state director in Indiana.

“While the construction industry is feeling more optimistic, the services industry continues to lag behind.”

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