by Sarah Einselen
Cass County unemployment inched downward to 9.3 percent for March, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.
In its monthly release Friday of state workforce data, the DWD indicated Indiana added more manufacturing jobs in March and increased production hours and durable goods production employment. However the state shed about 11,000 private-sector jobs overall, mostly in trade, transportation and utilities.
The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stayed at 8.7 percent, the same as in February.
“While March’s job numbers are evidence of some uncertainty in the market and confirm there is a good deal more work to do, we cannot overstate Indiana’s prominence and growing strength in manufacturing,” said Scott B. Sanders, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.
“The Hoosier State has more manufacturing jobs as a percentage of our private sector than any other state in the U.S. and we continue to experience real, tangible proof of sustained growth and propensity for expansion potential.”
Sanders also said the state is still outpacing the national average for private-sector job growth since July 2009 and initial unemployment claims remain below 2005 levels.
Ball State University economist Michael Hicks stated higher payroll taxes, a lagging European economy and continued uncertainty over the Affordable Care Act’s influence on labor costs have been weighing down Indiana job creation.
However, he said Indiana’s economic resiliency and relative strength was a bright spot in the jobs report.
“With job losses of 11,000, we still see overall job numbers over the past year exceeding all but a few states,” Hicks said. “Moreover, we enjoy a growing labor force, which speaks well to long-term prospects. Still, these numbers are bad, and with a worsening national economy, employment data are likely to disappoint for months to come.”
Among surrounding counties, Pulaski County had the lowest unemployment rate at 7.6 percent, and Miami County had the highest, 11 percent.
Carroll County had 8.3 percent unemployment, White had 8.8 percent, and Fulton and Howard both had 10 percent unemployment. All county numbers are not seasonally adjusted.
Sarah Einselen is news editor for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at email@example.com or 574-732-5151.
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