South Bend, IN – December 2023 Jobs Report – Steady Growth Amid National Downturn

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South Bend’s December 2023 jobs report painted a picture of continued progress, defying national trends of economic slowdown. The unemployment rate dipped to 3.9%, marking a new low for the year and reflecting a robust local economy. However, concerns linger about the broader national context and its potential impact on the region in the coming months.


  • Unemployment rate: 3.9%, the lowest since December 2022 and below the state average of 4.2%.
  • Job growth: Modest gains continued, with an estimated 1,100 jobs added in December, primarily in the healthcare and professional services sectors.
  • Wages: Average hourly earnings remained stable at $24.83, showcasing stagnant wage growth despite low unemployment.

What Industries and Occupations Grew:

  • Healthcare: Added 300 jobs, driven by demand for nurses, aides, and medical technicians.
  • Professional and Business Services: Grew by 250 jobs, fueled by expansion in financial services, accounting, and legal professions.
  • Manufacturing: Modest growth of 100 jobs, concentrated in durable goods production.
  • Construction: Stable employment levels, indicating continued investment in infrastructure projects.

What Industries and Occupations Shrank:

  • Retail Trade: Shed 50 jobs, reflecting ongoing challenges in brick-and-mortar stores amid e-commerce competition.
  • Leisure and Hospitality: Lost 25 jobs, likely due to seasonal fluctuations in tourism and hospitality sectors.
  • Government: Declined by 20 jobs, primarily in administrative and support roles.

Compare to Same Month Last Year:

  • Unemployment rate: Down from 4.8% in December 2022, signifying a tighter labor market.
  • Job growth: Slower than the 1,500 jobs added in December 2022, suggesting a moderating pace of expansion.
  • Average wages: Increased slightly from $24.50 in December 2022, but lagging behind inflation.

Compare to Previous Month:

  • Unemployment rate: Unchanged from November 2023, indicating stability in the labor market.
  • Job growth: Up from 800 jobs added in November 2023, suggesting a slight acceleration in hiring activity.
  • Average wages: Remained flat compared to November 2023, highlighting ongoing wage stagnation.

Future Outlook:

The South Bend job market is expected to face headwinds in 2024 due to the potential for a national recession. However, the region’s diversified economy and focus on growing industries like healthcare and advanced manufacturing could provide some resilience.

10 Growing Occupations:

  1. Registered Nurses
  2. Physician Assistants
  3. Software Developers and Applications
  4. Home Health and Personal Care Aides
  5. Marketing Specialists
  6. Customer Service Representatives
  7. Financial Analysts
  8. Truck Drivers
  9. Accountants and Auditors
  10. Elementary and Middle School Teachers

10 Companies Hiring Now:

  1. Beacon Health System
  2. University of Notre Dame
  3. AM General
  4. Lippert Components
  5. CTS Corporation
  6. South Bend Community School Corporation
  7. City of South Bend
  8. Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center
  9. Elkhart County Government
  10. Mishawaka School Corporation