Labor

LABOR: Work steady, but unemployment rate stagnant

Times Board of Economists - Report from Jim Robison, District 7 director for United Steelworkers union
2013-07-21T00:00:00Z 2013-12-18T16:23:23Z LABOR: Work steady, but unemployment rate stagnantJoseph S. Pete joseph.pete@nwi.com, (219) 933-3316 nwitimes.com

Work remains steady at Northwest Indiana’s major manufacturers, but a local union leader said the number of job would increase if there were more construction projects and infrastructure spending.

May unemployment rates in Lake, Porter and La Porte counties were at 9.7 percent, 7.7 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively. Unemployment in the region remained higher than the national rate of 7.6 percent.

Locally, the steel mills have been hiring younger workers to replace the older workers who are retiring, said United Steel Workers District 7 Director Jim Robinson. The mills aren’t adding to their overall head counts, but will continue to need to replace workers who started during the 1970s and will leave the workforce over the next few years.

Unemployment levels likely won’t increase when demand for steel is so slow. A big part of the problem is a lack of government spending on roads, bridges and other infrastructure that requires steel, Robinson said.

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