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Unemployment rate drops.

Several key U.S. indicators are showing improved economic performance, but the U.S. unemployment rate doesn't reflect that improvement. Indiana's employment figures for February, however, reflect marked gains over the previous month and the previous year.

Indiana's total establishment employment for February--after seasonal adjustment--increased by nearly 11,000 workers over January, and by 31,700 over February 1991. All of the state's metropolitan areas except Anderson reported employment gains over the year-ago figures, and Indianapolis reported an extraordinary gain of 16,500 workers.

As a result, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 5.3 percent, down from 5.7 percent in January and 5.9 percent in February 1991. Among the metro areas, Lafayette's rate of 3.1 percent was the lowest, while Kokomo topped the list at 6.8 percent, which is still below the U.S. rate.

The U.S. rate's failure to reflect the improving state of the economy is due more to optimism than to pessimism. The widespread encouragement of an improving economy has prompted more job seekers to return to the labor force, keeping the jobless rate high. Graduating college students have some cause to be more optimistic as well; Indiana's colleges and universities report that the state's personnel managers are showing increased interest in hiring new college grads.

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Title Annotation:Indiana Indicators
Publication:Indiana Business Magazine
Date:May 1, 1992
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