Unemployment plunged dramatically in Northwest Indiana in April, falling by 2 percentage points or more in many communities, as seasonal hiring picked up.
The seasonally adjusted jobless rate plummetted to 4.4% in April, down from 6.3% the previous month, across the Gary metropolitan area, which encompasses Lake, Porter, Newton and Jasper counties. The unemployment rate in the Gary metro was 4.3% a year prior, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.
In April, Lake County had the state's fourth-highest jobless rate at 4.8%, down from 6.9% in March but up from 4.6% in March 2018. Lake County's jobless rate remained higher than the unemployment rates in the state, neighboring Illinois, the Chicago area as a whole and the country.
LaPorte County ranked eighth out of Indiana's 92 counties at 4.1% unemployment, which was down from 5.7% in March, according to the DWD.
Joblessness in the Michigan City-LaPorte metro area, which is just LaPorte County, also fell by 1.6 percentage points month-over-month in March.
Porter County's unemployment fell to 3.4% in April, down from 4.9% in March, and was the 21st highest jobless rate statewide.
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Overall, Indiana's unemployment rate stayed steady at 3.6% last month, which was the same as the national rate.
Unemployment climbed as high as 12% in Northwest Indiana during the depths of the Great Recession a decade ago.
Joblessness plunged in April in every Northwest Indiana city and town where it's tracked. It fell by as much as 3.2 percentage points in East Chicago. Crown Point had the Region's lowest jobless rate at 2.9% percent while Gary had the highest at 7.2% and East Chicago had the second highest at 7%.
Gary had the second highest jobless rate in the state of Indiana in April, after only Kokomo's 7.4% unemployment rate.
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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.