For the month of July, Indiana’s unemployment rate dropped more than three points from the previous month down to 7.8 percent. But that metric is only a rough indicator of how the economy is improving.
The unemployment rate compares the number of people willing and able to work – the labor force – with the number of people who can’t find a job. Although a significant amount of people found work, Indiana’s labor force dropped by more than 75,000 people.
Josh Richardson, Department of Workforce Development chief of staff, says he expects the rate to continue to improve. But a better indicator could be to watch the number of people continuing to file unemployment claims.
"What we’re really focused on is, we’re still looking at the continued claims numbers," he said. "In my mind, that’s still one of the very best indicators of where we’re at in our recovery."
Recent data indicates around 180,000 Hoosiers continue to need state unemployment benefits. Another 130,000 are receiving federal benefits for self-employed workers.