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Indiana Unemployment Rate Jumps

Last updated on Tuesday, March 19, 2013

(UNDATED) - Indiana’s unemployment rate jumped in January to its highest level in 13 months. But state officials are questioning the federal government’s methodology.

The Department of Labor shows Indiana with a jobless rate of 8.6-percent, up three-tenths of a point from December.

Indiana Workforce Development Commissioner Scott Sanders explains that figure comes from the government's survey of a sample of households in each state to determine the unemployment rate. But the government also surveys employers to produce a second count of the number of jobs.

Sanders argues that figure should always be lower, because it doesn't count agricultural workers, the self-employed, or people on temporary unpaid leave. Since early last year, Sanders complains, the employers' survey has been higher.

The household survey credits the state with 3,400 new jobs, a fifth straight monthly increase. The unemployment increase stems from a surge of 14,000 more people in the workforce.

The employers' survey shows the state added 5,800 jobs, a rebound after two straight monthly declines. Sanders says private sector jobs have increased for 19 straight months.

Indiana's unemployment rate is higher than neighboring Ohio and Kentucky, but lower than Michigan and Illinois. It's also higher than the national average of 7.9-percent.

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