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1/26/2012 6:03:00 PM
Indiana second in private sector job growth for December 2011

Daniel Suddeath, News and Tribune

Indiana garnered the second largest month-to-month increase in jobs in the nation from November to December, as the state added more than 15,000 positions, according to a labor report released this week.

When government sector jobs are taken out of the equation, Indiana led the U.S. in job growth by adding more than 12,000 private-sector jobs from November to December. Texas led the way by adding about 20,200 total jobs over the span, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

From December 2010 to last month, Indiana added 17,700 jobs. The state’s unemployment rate stood at 9 percent as of December, as it has changed little over the past three months.

The state’s unemployment mark was higher in December than the 8.5 percent U.S. average.

Floyd County’s jobless rate was up slightly from 7.3 to 7.4 percent in December. Clark County’s unemployment mark held at 8 percent.

Uric Dufrene, Sanders Chair of the Indiana University Southeast School of Business, said the report was a positive for the state, despite the stagnant jobless rate.

“Indiana started adding jobs again, and this put Indiana into stronger positive territory compared to last year,” Dufrene said.

The latest report somewhat reversed Indiana’s 2011 trend, as the state struggled to add jobs as manufacturing gains stalled.

“If Indiana continues this path of positive job creation, we will also begin to see declines in the unemployment rate,” Dufrene said.

The manufacturing sector added about 3,600 jobs from November to December.

“Indicators are now pointing to expansion in manufacturing, and this should benefit Indiana’s job growth over the next six months,” Dufrene said. “Uncertainty remains, but I think the numbers for domestic demand are moving in a favorable direction, and this will serve as a boost to Indiana manufacturing.”

Indiana trumped it’s November to December job growth.

“Unlike our neighbors, who are seeing more discouraged workers, Indiana’s labor force is growing sharply as Hoosiers return to work,” said Mark W. Everson, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

Kentucky’s unemployment rate was slightly higher than Indiana’s at 9.1 percent for December. But Kentucky has added about 14,000 more jobs over the year than Indiana.

In Indiana, government employment increased by more than 3,000 slots in December. The construction sector also showed significant gains by adding about 3,600 jobs.

“This is definitely a turnaround, and a move in the right direction,” Dufrene said. “Despite these gains, construction will continue to face challenges.”

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