(MUNCIE, Ind.) – Indiana’s unemployment rate hit 2.3% last month, hitting a fifth consecutive record low.
After a record high unemployment rate at the beginning of the epidemic, the unemployment rate has been steadily declining for almost two years. The rate matched the 22-year-old record of 2.8% in October and set new records in three of the four months, with flats in other months.
Indiana added about 16,000 jobs in February, but the unemployment rate was partly due to lower job search. The state’s workforce has not yet fully recovered from where it was before the epidemic, while employment is still 49,000 jobs below the pre-epidemic peak. Ball state economist Michael Hicks notes that 3,000 working-age Huskies are permanently out of work because they have died from covid. And he says other workers have not yet re-entered the market for fear of school closures that would shake them to take care of their children.
But Hicks says the labor market is definitely getting stronger. He expects continued economic growth in the coming months, although he warns that uncertainty and supply-chain disruptions from Russia’s war in Ukraine could still push the economy.
At the moment, Hicks says, the challenges facing Indiana’s workforce are similar to those of employers before the epidemic: the lack of skilled workers stemming from the state’s lower education level. One-third of new jobs in February were in professional and business services, and Hicks said he suspects many of them are filling the temporary workforce that, based on hard work, companies evaluate to see if they can handle the job. Permanently.
The post Indiana Unemployment first appeared on 93.1FM WIBC at record low in the fifth straight month.