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Unemployment plummets across Northwest Indiana

Job seekers ponder which company to visit and submit a resume to at past local job fair.

Unemployment dropped across Northwest Indiana in August, falling by as much as 0.7% in East Chicago, Gary and Merrillville.

The jobless rate fell to 4.1% in August, down from 4.6% the previous month, across the Gary metropolitan area, which encompasses Lake, Porter, Newton and Jasper counties. The unemployment rate in the Gary metro area also stood at 4.6% a year prior, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

In August, Lake County had the state's third-highest jobless rate at 4.4%, down from 5% in July and down from 5% in August 2018. Lake County's jobless rate remained stubbornly higher than the unemployment rates in the state, the Chicago area as a whole, neighboring Illinois and the country.

LaPorte County ranked eighth highest out of Indiana's 92 counties at 3.9% unemployment in August, which was down from 4.4% in July and from 4.2% at the same time a year ago, according to the Department of Workforce Development.

Joblessness in the Michigan City-LaPorte metro area, which consists of just LaPorte County, also fell by 0.5% month over month in July.

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Porter County's unemployment decreased to 3.6% in August, down from 3.9% in July and at the same point a year earlier. It was the 19th highest jobless rate statewide.

Overall, Indiana's unemployment rate fell to 3.3% in August, which was the lowest rate in the Hoosier state since February 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Neighboring Illinois' jobless rate dropped to 4%, down from 4.2% the previous month and the lowest on record, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

Unemployment climbed as high as 12% in Northwest Indiana during the depths of the Great Recession a decade ago.

Joblessness dropped in August in nearly every Northwest Indiana city and town where it's tracked, falling by 0.7% in East Chicago, Gary and Merrillville, by 0.6% in Hammond and Michigan City, and by 0.4% in Hobart, Portage and Valparaiso.

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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.