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Our unemployment rate can't be that good.

While the performance of the Indiana economy during the first eight months of 1993 has been somewhat disappointing, the performance of some of the statistical tools used to gauge economic performance has been downright dreadful.

For the second straight month, bizarre unemployment-rate figures released by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development have left observers of the state economy--including the governor--shaking their heads.

According to the most recently released data, Indiana's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for August fell to 4.1 percent, down from 4.5 percent in July, but these extremely low levels are almost certainly too optimistic. Most other employment indicators--including the U.S. unemployment rate, the rates in neighboring states and the figures on jobs as reported by Indiana businesses--portray a situation of flat job growth.

As Gov. Evan Bayh stated, there is "doubt that Indiana's real unemployment rate is nearly three percentage points below the national average." Why be so concerned about the artificially low rates, when they seem like good news? Because if the problem persists, the state could lose some federal money for programs whose funding levels are tied to the state jobless rate.

It appears that we will have to wait a little longer for information that will allow us to judge the true state of the state economy.

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Title Annotation:Indiana Indicators
Publication:Indiana Business Magazine
Date:Nov 1, 1993
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