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Unemployment rate continues to make history, but labor force flat

In raw numbers, more people found jobs in January and fewer people seeking jobs said they couldn’t find one.
Justin Hicks
/
IPB News
In raw numbers, more people found jobs in January and fewer people seeking jobs said they couldn’t find one.

Indiana continues to break state records for low unemployment as it fell to just 2.4 percent in January. But there’s a flip side to that statistic: the rate of Hoosiers 16 and older participating in the workforce stayed flat.

In raw numbers, more people found jobs in January and fewer people seeking jobs said they couldn’t find one. That’s good news and makes sense: anyone driving down the street can see there’s no shortage of companies hiring. Construction saw the biggest growth in employment as Indiana continued to experience the lowest unemployment rate in the Midwest.

READ MORE: Indiana city frets over long-term effects of having the lowest U.S. unemployment rate

But there’s another measure to pay attention to: the labor force participation rate. It compares the number of people working to the total number of people living in the state.

Indiana’s labor force participation has stayed flat at around 62 percent for a few months now while the U.S. rate has steadily grown. In the preliminary January report, the country surpassed the state for the first time in years.

Contact reporter Justin at jhicks@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @Hicks_JustinM.

Justin Hicks has joined the reporting team for Indiana Public Broadcasting News (IPB News) through funding made available by (IPBS) Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations. Justin will be based out of WVPE in his new role as a Workforce Development Reporter for IPB News. Justin comes to Indiana by way of New York. He has a Master's Degree from the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University. He previously earned a Bachelor of Music Degree from Appalachian State University where he played trumpet. He first learned about Elkhart, Indiana, because of the stamp on his brass instrument indicating where it was produced.