Unemployment falls across most of Northwest Indiana

In this May file photo, job seekers line up to check in at the Opportunity Fair and Forum employment event in Dallas. Unemployment fell last month across most of Northwest Indiana, except for Merrillville and Hobart.

LM Otero, Associated Press

Unemployment fell or stayed steady across Northwest Indiana in November, dropping by 0.2 percent last month in Lake County and remaining the same in Porter and LaPorte counties.

Joblessness dropped by 0.2 percent across the Gary metropolitan area that encompasses most of Northwest Indiana's population and territory.

Lake County had the state's second-highest jobless rate of 4.8 percent in November, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. LaPorte County was seventh highest out of Indiana's 92 counties with an unemployment rate of 4.2 percent. Porter County's unemployment rate stood at 3.8 percent, 22nd highest in the state.

The seasonally unadjusted jobless rate in the Gary metro area — which is made up of Lake, Porter, Newton and Jasper counties — fell to 4.5 percent in November, down from 4.7 percent the previous month, according to the Department of Workforce Development.

Unemployment in the Michigan City metro area, which is just LaPorte County, remained unchanged at 4.2 percent in November.

The jobless rate in the Gary metro was down 0.5 percent as compared to the same time a year ago, and unemployment in the Michigan City metro fell by 0.8 percent over the same period.

Overall, Indiana's unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in November, down 0.2 percent from October, while Illinois' jobless rate remained steady at 4.9 percent, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The national unemployment rate was 4.1 percent last month.

Unemployment had been as high as 12 percent in Northwest Indiana during the depths of the Great Recession a decade ago.

Joblessness fell last month in every city and town that's tracked in Northwest Indiana, except for Hobart and Merrillville, where it crept up slightly. Most dramatically, joblessness fell by 1 percent in East Chicago.

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Business reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.