Indiana recorded a 2.2 percent unemployment rate in March. It’s the third-lowest rate in the country and yet another record low for the state. It’s good news for workers, but also indicates an increasingly competitive labor market for employers.
Most economists consider unemployment rates around 4 percent to 5 percent to mean “full employment.” So it’s dramatic – and historic – that Indiana’s rate continues to edge closer to 2 percent.
And the labor force participation rate – the percent of Hoosiers actually in the workforce – has been improving over the past few months, too.
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So what are the side effects? When employers fight each other for workers, they offer better wages, benefits and other perks. That’s great for workers, but is also leading some conservatives to talk about something called a wage-price spiral: when higher wages lead to higher prices at the store.
Still, all told, there’s about 100,000 less workers in Indiana than there were before the pandemic. That could be due to people deciding to stay home permanently or Baby Boomers retiring for good.