The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate in Indiana continued its significant downward trend in February. The rate stands at 6.1%, down from an initially reported 6.4% in January.

According to a press release, the number of unemployed Hoosiers is less than 200,000 for the first time since August of 2008. The unemployment rate has been on a downward slide so far in 2014 while the labor force has expanded by nearly 14,000. Indiana’s rate is now more than one-half of a percentage point below the national rate for the first time in a decade.

Indiana also added 5,400 private sector jobs in February. The Hoosier State has grown more than 214,000 private sector jobs since July 2009, the low point of employment in the state.

“Indiana has had a strong start to 2014 despite the harsh winter,” said Scott B. Sanders, Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. “Our unemployment rate is now the lowest it has been since August of 2008 and our labor force has expanded by nearly 14,000 in two months.”

Sanders also noted initial claims for unemployment insurance in February were nearly 5,000 below February 2013 levels and are at their lowest levels in nearly 15 years.

Sectors showing gains in February include: Leisure and Hospitality (2,200), Construction (2,000) and Trade, Transportation & Utilities (1,400) and Manufacturing (800). Sectors showing decline in February include: Private Educational & Health Services (-800), Professional & Business Services (-600) and Financial Activities (-300). Total non-farm employment increased in February (9,100).