Indiana’s unemployment rate grew to 10% in March, keeping the state’s jobless rate at the highest level since the recession of the early 1980s.
Seasonally adjusted preliminary numbers released today (April 17) show that nearly 340,000 residents were looking for work in March – nearly double the number from the same time a year ago. March’s jobless rate of 10% is up from February’s rate of 9.4%, according to Associated Press.
Indiana’s unemployment rate was last at 10% in November 1983. State officials say continued declines in the auto industry were partly to blame for March’s increased rate.
“Uncertainty in the manufacturing sector, particularly automotive, is causing a ripple effect in Indiana,” said Teresa Voors, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. “We saw employment declines in auto manufacturing, transportation and logistics as Indiana plants produce, assemble, transport and warehouse fewer products.”
LaGrange County had the state’s highest unemployment rate, at 18.9%. That slightly topped Elkhart County, which had a jobless rate of 18.8% and for months has had the dubious distinction of being the epicenter of the state’s unemployment problems. The county rates are not seasonally adjusted.
Elkhart Mayor Dick Moore said the economies of the LaGrange and Elkhart counties both rely on the troubled recreational vehicle industry.
“They’re very much aligned and dependent upon the same type of manufacturing,” Moore said.
Most counties in northern Indiana – an area hit hard by job cuts and plant closures in the RV industry – had rates above the state average.