Indiana News

Hicks: Unemployment Rate Expected to Drop

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): An Indiana economist predicts the nation‘s unemployment rate will fall slightly.

The jobless report for February is due out Friday. Ball State University economist Dr. Mike Hicks says he expects the unemployment rate will dip maybe one-tenth of a percent from the January rate of 5.6%. Hicks says it‘s likely that the economy added anywhere from 200,000 to 240,000 jobs in February.

He adds, improving labor markets and loss of labor force have contributed to recent declines in the jobless rate. He says six months of declining oil prices haven‘t yet translated into higher retail spending which is a sign of economic improvement. But. that may be reflected in the new jobs report. Hicks says between 4.5% and 5.5% is the healthiest range for unemployment.

He says below that signals inflation. Hicks says wage growth will also prompt more people to join the labor force which may keep the unemployment rate stagnant. 

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