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Unemployment falls across Northwest Indiana in May

Luke Oil human resources recruiter Kimberly Galetti, left, answers questions from Crown Point resident Kiara Crooks at a job fair at the Jean Shepherd Community Center in Hammond in 2014. Unemployment dropped across Northwest Indiana in May 2019.

Unemployment fell across Northwest Indiana in May, dropping by as many as 1.5 percentage points in East Chicago as seasonal hiring picked up.

The jobless rate declined to 3.8% in May, down from 4.4% the previous month, across the Gary metropolitan area, which encompasses Lake, Porter, Newton and Jasper counties. The unemployment rate in the Gary metro area was 4.2% a year prior, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

In May, Lake County had the state's second-highest jobless rate at 4.1%, down from 4.8% in April and down from 4.5% in May 2018. Lake County's jobless rate remained higher than the unemployment rates in the state, the Chicago area as a whole and the country.

LaPorte County ranked fifth highest out of Indiana's 92 counties at 3.7% unemployment, which was down from 4.1% in April, according to the DWD.

Joblessness in the Michigan City-LaPorte metro area, which is just LaPorte County, also fell by 0.4 percentage point month-over-month in May.

Porter County's unemployment fell to 3.2% in May, down from 3.4% in April, and was the 21st highest jobless rate statewide.

Overall, Indiana's unemployment rate stayed steady at 3.6% for the third straight month last month, which was the same as the national rate. Neighboring Illinois' jobless rate also has been unchanged for three months at 4.4%.

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

Joblessness dropped in April in every Northwest Indiana city and town where it's tracked, falling by more than a percentage point in East Chicago, Gary, Hammond, Hobart and Merrillville. Crown Point had the Region's lowest jobless rate at 2.8% percent, while Gary had the highest at 6.2%. Joblessness was 3.1% in Schererville and 3.2% in Valparaiso in May.

Editor's note: Data were not adjusted for seasonal employment variations.

Source: Indiana Department of Workforce Development

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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.