By Olivia Covington
Indiana's unemployment level increased from 8 percent to 8.2 percent in 2012, which is higher than the national unemployment level of 7.8 percent.The Department of Workforce Development, which released the state's report Friday, attributed the increase to more than 7,000 Hoosiers returning to the labor force to look for work.
This report comes just one day after Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, announced his plan to create an Indiana Career Council, a committee that would identify the specific skills Indiana employers are looking for and then ensure that unemployed workers learn those skills. Bosma's plan is intended to help close the skills gap that is preventing Hoosier workers from getting available jobs.
Illinois and Michigan had no change in overall unemployment in 2012, while Kentucky and Ohio's unemployment levels fell slightly.
Despite the overall increase in unemployment, private sector employment increased across the state. More than 54,000 jobs were created in 2012, and 97 percent of the pre-recession private sector employment levels have been recovered.
"The Hoosier state has increased private sector employment by nearly 157,000 since July 2009, the low point of unemployment in our state, and has been a national leader in job growth during that period," said Department of Workforce Development Commissioner Scott Sanders.
Several private sectors saw jobs growth that was higher than the national average in 2012, including manufacturing (3.7 percent versus 1.5 percent), leisure and hospitality (4.3 percent versus 2.4 percent), trade, transportation and utilities (2.6 percent versus 1.4 percent) and construction (1.4 percent versus 0.3 percent).
Indiana's overall private sector growth was 2.2 percent, half a percent higher than the national average.
Olivia Covington is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students and faculty.