May's Unemployment Snapshot

Using May's preliminary numbers, the U.S. non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate (5.3 percent) has fallen from a year ago by 0.5 percentage points or -8.6 percent. In comparison, Indiana’s May unemployment rate (5.0 percent) is up 0.1 percentage point, a 2 percent increase from this time a year ago. In May 2004, Indiana had 157,487 Hoosiers unemployed, contributing two percent to the nation’s total pool of unemployed people. Indiana’s immediate Midwestern neighbors (Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois and Michigan) all posted higher unemployment rates.

Figure 1: Indiana map of regional unemployment. North = 5.5%; Central = 4.7% and South = 4.4%

In May, the farther south you lived, the better you fared in terms of the regional aggregate unemployment rates. Northern, central and southern Indiana posted unemployment rates of 5.5, 4.7 and 4.4 percent, respectively (see Figure 1).

Metropolitan areas, including only those areas inside Indiana’s borders, had a 4.8 percent unemployment rate, while the non-metropolitan areas posted 5.7 percent. In terms of unemployment rates, both metro areas and non-metro areas exhibited a slight increase of 0.1 percentage point over last year. Non-metro areas actually had 295 less people unemployed than last year, but a shrinking labor force caused the rate to increase.

As seen in Figure 2, Randolph County had the highest unemployment rate (10.6 percent) and Hamilton the lowest (2.7 percent). Lake County had the largest yearly increase in the number of people seeking work (1,700) and Elkhart showed the biggest numeric improvement with 660 residents removed from the unemployment rolls.

Figure 2

Amber Kostelac
Data Manager, Indiana Business Research Center, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University