November 19, 2021

October unemployment rate improves significantly but labor force continues to slump

Article origination Indiana Public Media
Indiana government offices in Indianapolis.  - Justin Hicks/IPB News

Indiana government offices in Indianapolis.

Justin Hicks/IPB News

Listen to the broadcast version of this story.

Indiana’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.3 percent for October, according to preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While that measurement is almost back to pre-COVID-19 levels, the number of people ready to work isn’t. 

The unemployment rate dropped 0.2 percentage points from September's rate of 3.5 percent. Even so, the BLS revised that September rate 0.5 percentage points lower than it previously reported.

Each month, BLS has an opportunity to revise preliminary information. 

Join the conversation and sign up for the Indiana Two-Way. Text "Indiana" to 73224. Your comments and questions in response to our weekly text help us find the answers you need on statewide issues.

The decrease is driven by fewer people who say they’re ready to work. But that doesn’t necessarily mean those people found jobs – just that they stopped looking for one.

For October, data shows the labor force – meaning the total number of Hoosiers working or looking for work – dropped to levels the state hasn’t experienced since last summer, before the availability of a COVID-19 vaccine. Economists agree that’s a key number to watch along with the unemployment rate to gauge economic health.

Contact reporter Justin at or follow him on Twitter at @Hicks_JustinM.

Copyright 2021 Indiana Public Media. To see more, visit Indiana Public Media.
Support independent journalism today. You rely on WFYI to stay informed, and we depend on you to make our work possible. Donate to power our nonprofit reporting today. Give now.


Related News

Bill – amended to clarify controversial wetlands law – passes Indiana House
Bill to prevent federal control of Indiana's air pollution program passes state House
Bill criminalizing people within 25 feet of police when told to stop headed to governor