“From November of last year to November of this year, Indiana is in negative territory” in terms of new jobs, said Uric Dufrene, Sanders Chair of the Indiana University Southeast School of Business. “Indiana now pales in comparison to the job growth the surrounding states have experienced in the last year.”
As has been the case throughout 2011, a slow down in the manufacturing sector is being blamed as the main reason why job growth isn’t on pace with 2010 gains.
“In fact last month, the state lost 3,200 manufacturing jobs,” Dufrene said.
He added the job growth Indiana experienced in 2010 in the professional and business services and educational and health services sectors also slowed.
“Indiana had been touted as one of the job creation success stories following the Great Recession,” Dufrene said. “That job growth has now come to a complete halt, and is in reverse since last year.”
The state’s unemployment rate held at 9 percent in November, as Indiana’s labor force grew by 13,600 though private sector employment increased by just 1,700 positions.
The rise in the state’s labor force — which is up by nearly 50,000 people over the last four months — was promoted as a positive sign by Mark W. Everson, commission of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.
“The continued increase in Indiana’s labor force is in sharp contrast with our Midwestern neighbors and the nation as a whole,” he said.
Nationally, the labor force dropped by 0.2 percent in November. The decrease helped push the national unemployment rate downward from 9 to 8.6 percent.
According to state figures, Jeffersonville’s unemployment rate remained unchanged in November at 8 percent. New Albany’s jobless rate dropped from 9 percent in October to 8.5 percent in November. Floyd County’s unemployment mark was 7.3 percent in November, and Clark County’s jobless rate was 8 percent.
“I think the national economy and the local economy continues to be a mixed bag,” said Jody Wassmer, president of One Southern Indiana.
“I still think most companies are very much in a holding pattern, by and large.”
Wassmer pointed to positive job news in Clark and Floyd Counties recently, such as Rivera Consulting which announced earlier this month it’s moving from Sellersburg to Clarksville and adding up to 100 jobs.
“We’ve got a lot in the pipeline in terms of projects we’re working in terms of expansions, and there are some major businesses looking at the area that we’re working with,” he said.
Looking ahead, Dufrene said the wild card for Indiana will continue to be manufacturing.
“If there is a greater pick up in domestic and global demand, that might be the fuel necessary to see a pick up in manufacturing hiring, and this will improve the job growth numbers in 2012,” he said. “Some indicators are now pointing to a pick up in demand.”