State officials say Indiana’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate dropped 0.2 percent for a second-consecutive month and now stands at 4.6 percent for the month of July.

A primary cause for this drop, according to the Department of Workforce Development,  is a third-straight month of significant gains in Hoosiers finding employment (11,276 in July) coupled with a substantial amount of Hoosiers leaving the unemployment ranks (-7,480 in July).

Indiana’s labor force, a measure of Hoosiers employed or seeking employment, has experienced total labor growth of more than 192,000 since January 2013. This has led to all-time highs in the state’s total labor force (3,375,563) and total number of employed (3,220,007).

“Indiana’s labor force has been trending positively throughout the last three years, which demonstrates confidence among Hoosier jobseekers as they secure gainful employment. The corresponding contraction of the applicant pool is also increasing employer demand for workers with the right skills and training,” said Steven J. Braun, Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD). “DWD, along with its WorkOne Career Centers and other community partners, can assist jobseekers in obtaining the skills and training necessary to fill the many high-wage, high-demand jobs available throughout Indiana.”

Commissioner Braun also said that since 2009, the low point of employment for the state, Indiana’s private sector employment growth has surpassed the nation (13.8 percent vs. 13.0 percent). Total private employment for July stands at 30,000 above the March 2000 peak, and July is the 13th-consecutive month above that peak. Additionally, initial and continued unemployment insurance claims for the first 32 weeks of 2016 are at their lowest point since 1987.

Indiana Democrats were quick to throw cold water on the news.   Chairman John Zody put out the following statement.

“Under Mike Pence, Eric Holcomb, and Statehouse Republicans, Indiana’s economy has consistently lagged, wages continue to fall significantly, and Indiana remains behind the national pace of the economic recovery following the Great Recession. The Pence-Holcomb team has promoted figures that are inaccurate and are simple snapshot comparisons to that of a decade ago – back to when inflation was lower and the state had a smaller workforce. The fact is, per capita income for Hoosiers has fallen under the Pence-Holcomb Administration’s watch and the state’s economy fails to grow at its forecast levels. We need a better investment in jobs and the wages it provides Hoosiers so they can stop working more for less, and Pence-Holcomb have proven they cannot accomplish this for Indiana.”

Lt. Governor Eric Holcomb, who is also running for Governor, released the following remarks.

“The hard work, determination and resiliency of Hoosiers, coupled with twelve years of proven and responsible Republican policies, has put Indiana on the right economic track. Not only has our unemployment rate dropped again, but more Hoosiers are employed than ever before, wages are going up and our cost of living remains low. We have created an environment where established brand name companies and entrepreneurs with an idea can bring their talents and watch their efforts, and our economy, grow.  As our next governor, I will focus on continuing that forward momentum to make Indiana the best state to live, work, play and stay.”