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Unemployment ticks up in March

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — Indiana’s unemployment rate increased slightly to 3.2% in March. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development says the state lost 18,700 private sector jobs over the previous month as the COVID-19 began affecting businesses in Indiana.

Figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show Indiana’s labor force saw a net decrease of more than 119,000 over the previous month. The state’s total labor force, which includes Hoosiers who are either employed or seeking employment, stands at 3.27 million for March.

The DWD says the monthly decrease in jobs in March was mainly due to losses in the Leisure and Hospitality; Trade, Transportation and Utilities; and Manufacturing sectors. 

The state says total private employment in Indiana stands at 2.7 million, which is slightly below the January 2019 peak.

Indiana’s unemployment rate is lower than the national rate of 4.4%. Indiana has the lowest unemployment of the neighboring states. Only one state in the Midwest has lower unemployment at 3.1%. 

Despite the slight increase, thousands of more Hoosiers have filed for unemployment insurance benefits over the last several weeks. Last week, the state saw more than 118,000 claims filed, compared to more than 2,300 during the same week in 2019.