Indiana's Annual Unemployment Rate Rose Nearly 4 Percentage Points From 2019

Mar 4, 2021

A sign from a trucking company in Nappanee, Indiana, recruits truckers. In some industries, like trucking, worker shortages were exacerbated by the pandemic.
Credit (Justin Hicks/IPB News)

Indiana’s average unemployment rate in 2020 – 7.1 percent – increased nearly 4 percentage points compared to the year before. Keep in mind: many economists say, due to problems with data collection, it could be even higher.

Across the country, unemployment rates skyrocketed due to COVID-19, but the South and Midwest seemed to fare a bit better. States more dependent on tourism and entertainment like Hawaii and Nevada experienced some of the worst job losses.

Andrew Butters, Indiana University economics professor, said it’s no secret that Indiana’s reliance on manufacturing makes it a little easier to rebound from a pandemic-caused recession. But unlike the Great Recession more than a decade ago, people are more likely to be unemployed long-term. 

“These are often now people that were separated from a job probably very early on and that creates an altogether different type of environment,” he said.

Butters said as more people are vaccinated, it remains to be seen what pandemic behaviors will stick around and how that will affect job recovery going forward.

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