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Unemployment rises across most of Northwest Indiana

Cheryl Bast of Omaha, left, is accompanied by her daughter Liz Pierson as she works on an application for a position with Omaha Public Schools during a job fair held in Omaha, Nebraska last year. Unemployment rose across Northwest Indiana in August.

Unemployment rose across much of Northwest Indiana in August, climbing by as much as 0.5 percentage points in Gary.

Joblessness increased last month to 4.8 percent across the Gary metropolitan area, which encompasses most of Northwest Indiana's population and territory, covering Lake, Porter, Newton and Jasper counties. The unemployment rate in the Gary metro was up from 4.6 percent in July but down from 5.1 percent the previous August.

In August, Lake County had the state's fourth-highest jobless rate of 5.1 percent, up from 4.9 percent the previous month and higher than the rest of the state, neighboring Illinois, the rest of the Chicago area and the rest of the country.

LaPorte County ranked 10th out of Indiana's 92 counties at 4.4 percent unemployment, which was up from 4.2 percent in July. Joblessness in the Michigan City-LaPorte metro area, which is just LaPorte County, also correspondingly rose to 4.4 percent in August, up from 4.2 percent in July.

Porter County's unemployment rose to 4.1 percent, 23rd highest in the state and up from 3.9 percent the month prior.

Overall, Indiana's unemployment rate ticked up to 3.5 percent in August, the third straight monthly increase, while Illinois' jobless rate dipped by 0.2 percentage points to a record low of 4.1 percent in August, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The national unemployment rate stood at 3.9 percent in August, unchanged from July.

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

Joblessness rose in nearly every city and town in Northwest Indiana in August, increasing by 0.4 percent in East Chicago and Hobart and by 0.3 percent in Merrillville and Schererville. It stayed steady at 5.2 percent in Hammond, the only sizeable community in the Region where joblessness didn't increase in August.

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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.