Too many people are still out of work, a local labor leader said.
The unemployment rate for the Gary metropolitan area was 8.8 percent in August, the most recent month for which data was available.
"Generally, from a labor standpoint, unemployment is still far too high, said Jim Robinson, director of United Steel Workers District 7. "Washington has done too little to address major problems. They're having a ridiculous government shutdown instead of growing the middle class, working on the education system and giving people a better shot at a good job."
The employment levels are good but could always be better at the steel mills in Northwest Indiana, Robinson said. The entire steel industry would benefit from more construction, especially of roads, bridges and other infrastructure.
"We need investments in infrastructure, education, and technology and science," he said. "We need to get away from this constant crisis."