Indiana’s private sector started the year off strong in January, adding jobs for the 19th consecutive month. The state’s labor force saw its greatest single-month expansion in nearly 20 years.
While the state’s private sector added 8,200 jobs in January, the unemployment rate climbed to its highest level in nearly a year, at 8.6 %. But the state Department of Workforce Development said the rise in the unemployment rate is due to a huge influx of people to the labor force, which is made up of both people with jobs and those actively looking for work.
In a statement, Governor Mike Pence called the job numbers encouraging but said the economy is still struggling. He called on the General Assembly to pass a budget that puts Hoosiers back to work, which he said would include his proposed 10% income tax cut.
Senate Appropriations chair Luke Kenley said the Pence tax cut is a viable option but the legislature has to determine the best way to stimulate the economy.
“And how do we go about doing this in a way that we don’t threaten our ability to just, you might say, maintain a reasonable budget in the future without some big hiccups?” asked Kenley.
House Minority Leader Scott Pelath said expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act is the best job creation measure, citing a study that says it could add up to 30 thousand jobs in the state.