March's Unemployment Snapshot

Indiana’s March 2004 unemployment rate of 5.6 percent is still below the nation’s 6 percent, according to non-seasonally adjusted data from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. This puts Indiana very close to its March 2002 level of unemployment, but the state still has a ways to go before reaching the prosperous levels of the late-1990s. Approximately 7,500 Hoosiers fell off of the unemployment rolls in March. The employment pictures in Massachusetts and Washington (both states within 5 percent of Indiana’s Census 2000 population) showed similar improvement, with approximately 6,000 and 11,700 fewer people unemployed in those states, respectively.

The number of people unemployed dropped in all twelve Indiana Commerce regions from the previous month. Commerce Regions 7, 10 and 1 had the largest declines. Porter (-450) and Lake counties (-390) had the largest declines in unemployment and Cass County had the largest increase in the number of unemployed Hoosiers (180). Although Commerce Region 1’s employment picture has improved, three of its four counties remain above the state average unemployment rate (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Regional Unemployment. North = 5.5%, Central = 4.7%, and South = 4.4%

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