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Indiana unemployment rate hits historic low amid increasingly tight labor market

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Justin Hicks
/
IPB News
A sign at a job fair welcomes job seekers. According to December unemployment numbers, there are less people without jobs actively looking for one.

Indiana’s unemployment rate may have reached a historic low, reaching just 2.7 percent in December. More workers found employment, but the overall labor force is continuing a months-long downward slide.

It’s still preliminary data, but it shows Indiana with the fewest number of workers having trouble finding jobs since the federal government began tracking state levels in the 1970s. But lately there’s simply fewer people reporting availability to work each month. 

Andrew Butters, economics professor at Indiana University, said those two things together indicate an even tighter labor market. He said research seems to show older workers may be retiring sooner and others are on the sidelines grappling with issues like child care

“People are either finding better or new jobs – that’s mostly reflective of the elevated quit rate – but we also just have less Hoosiers in the labor market right now,” he said.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there’s still around 240,000 job openings in the state.

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.