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Indiana's unemployment rate is increasing, expert explains fluctuations

The back of the bus is off white with navy blue and green trim along the bottom of the bus. The sign on the bus reads "Now Hiring" in all capitalized white letters.
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Some of these preliminary estimates are seasonally adjusted months, or sometimes years, after their initial release. One expert says these seasonal adjustments help us understand fluctuations in the job market.

Indiana’s unemployment rate has gradually increased to 3.7 percent over the last six months, according to preliminary data.

In November of last year the unemployment rate was 3.5 percent and it stayed that way until April of this year with a rate of 3.6 percent. The state's unemployment rate now stands at 3.7 percent, before seasonal adjustments.

Some of these preliminary estimates are seasonally adjusted months, or sometimes years, after initial release. One expert says these adjustments help us understand fluctuations in the job market.

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Rachel Blakeman directs the Community Research Institute at Purdue University Fort Wayne. According to Blakeman, employment data is updated throughout the year due to the natural ups and downs of the job market.

“The obvious ups and downs are, if we think about it for summer,” Blakeman said. “So we know that we have students, perhaps retirees who work at whatever summer institutions you want to think about.”

READ MORE:Preliminary data: Indiana unemployment hits highest rate in nearly three years

Blakeman also says many businesses hire for seasonal work around November and December. In January, that influx of hiring typically scales back, which can cause a change in the unemployment rate.

In order to be considered unemployed, an individual must be at least 16 years old and actively searching for work.

"So this means that you are putting in applications," Blakeman said. "I mean, you're going on interviews, things like that."

Timoria is our labor and employment reporter. Contact her at tcunningham@wfyi.org.

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