Indianapolis, In. — More Hoosiers are working than ever before, as Indiana ended 2018 by reporting record employment numbers for the year and job gains in every major sector measured by the state.The Indiana Department of Workforce Development reported on Jan. 18 that the total number of employed Hoosiers in December preliminarily reached 3,284,190, while private employment hit 2,731,600—both new highs for the state. Total preliminary private employment in 2018 grew by 42,700 people from the previous peak in December 2017, according to DWD. Dating back to July 2009, Indiana has gained 408,400 private jobs since state employment bottomed out during the recession. That translates to private sector job growth of 17.6 percent—better than the Midwest region, which registered 13.4 percent employment growth during that period. Also, Indiana’s labor force participation rate in December stood at 65.1 percent. The rate has now outperformed the national average (63.1 percent) for 55 consecutive months.Indiana’s unemployment rate last month remained at 3.6 percent and lower than the national rate of 3.9 percent. The state’s jobless rate has decreased 7 percentage points since July 2009—the high point of unemployment in Indiana.In addition, most major sectors measured by DWD saw job gains last year. “It’s always exciting to see job growth across so many sectors, knowing that more Hoosiers are working and finding employment opportunities than ever before,” DWD Commissioner Fred Payne said. “It’s a tribute to Indiana employers and their diligent efforts to recruit and train Hoosiers to fill open positions. And, as we forge ahead into 2019, it is imperative that programs like Gov. Holcomb’s Next Level Jobs initiative continue to grow and provide the skilled training that employers so critically need, and Hoosier workers are seeking.”The biggest job gains in 2018 were in:Construction, +13,900 jobsTrade, Transportation & Utilities, +10,900 jobsProfessional & Business Services, +8,800 jobsPrivate Education & Health Services, +6,300 jobsFinancial Activities, +4,500 jobsManufacturing, +3,100 jobsAs part of the governor’s NextLevel Jobs initiative, more than 10,000 Hoosiers last year enrolled in high-wage, high-demand Workforce Ready Grant programs at Ivy Tech Community College, Vincennes University or local training providers. Also, more than 450 Hoosier employers are training nearly 7,000 workers under the Employer Training Grant program.