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3.9% jobless rate not seen since the '60s.

While the surging stock market has gotten all the headlines, there's been another economic indicator that's been quietly breaking records lately - the Indiana unemployment rate. Slowly but steadily, the state's jobless rate has fallen throughout the year, from levels that already were considered to be rock-bottom lows. The latest estimates put it at a seasonally adjusted 3.9 percent, a rate not seen since the 1960s.

Although the dip in unemployment rates in October was large, it doesn't seem like a fluke. Rates have been falling all year, although the rate of decline had slowed prior to the most recent report. The margin between the Indiana and U.S. unemployment rates widened to 1.3 percentage points in October.

The lower rates fall, of course, the harder it becomes to push them any lower. Moreover, those same low rates that are such a boon to job-seekers are causing plenty of headaches for employers trying to fill empty positions, not to mention institutions such as colleges and volunteer organizations, which are finding their candidates pulled away by the red-hot job market.

Meanwhile, the U.S. economy continues to cool down. The national unemployment rate edged up to 5.4 percent in November. Indiana's labor market may fall a bit closer to earth in the next few months as well.
 Latest Previous Year Percent
 Period Period Ago Change

Employment (000)

U.S. Nov. 96 120,392.0 120,274.0 117,899.0 2.1
Indiana Oct. 96 2,806.6 2,792.9 2,795 0.4

Manufacturing Employment (000)

U.S. Nov. 96 18,259.0 18,250.0 18,353.0 -0.5
Indiana Oct. 96 679.3 678.4 682.8 -0.5

Non-Manufacturing Employment (000)

U.S. Nov. 96 102,000.0 102,000.0 99,546.0 2.5
Indiana Oct. 96 2,127.3 2,114.5 2,112.2 0.7

Unemployment Rates (Percent)

U.S. Nov. 96 5.4 5.2 5.6
Indiana Oct. 96 3.5 3.8 4.3
Bloomington Oct. 96 2.0 2.2 2.4
Elkhart-Goshen Oct. 96 3.5 3.5 3.9
Evansville Oct. 96 3.8 4.2 4.7
Fort Wayne Oct. 96 2.9 3.2 3.7
Gary-Hammond Oct. 96 4.4 5.4 5.9
Indianapolis Oct. 96 2.9 3.1 3.6
Kokomo Oct. 96 3.0 3.3 3.7
Lafayette Oct. 96 2.2 2.5 2.5
Muncie Oct. 96 3.8 4.2 4.4
New Albany Oct. 96 3.5 3.8 4.5
South Bend Oct. 96 3.6 3.8 3.9
Terre Haute Oct. 96 5.0 5.6 6.1

Personal Income ($ Billions)

U.S. Oct. 96 6,544.3 6,541.7 6,206.6 5.4
Indiana IIQ. 96 129.2 127.2 123.9 4.3

Retail Sales ($ Billions)

Indiana Sept. 96 4.43 4.77 4.25 4.2

Employment figures are seasonally adjusted.

Principal Source: Ball State University, Bureau of Business
Research
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Title Annotation:Indiana
Publication:Indiana Business Magazine
Date:Jan 1, 1997
Words:508
Previous Article:Women in Indiana Business magazine.
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