Unemployment rises across Northwest Indiana

Candidates prepare for an Indiana University Northwest job fair in 2012.

Unemployment rose throughout Northwest Indiana last month.

Joblessness rose to 4.8 percent in December, up from 4.6 percent the previous month, across the Gary metropolitan area, which encompasses Lake, Porter, Newton, and Jasper counties. The unemployment rate in the Gary metro was 4.4 percent a year prior, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

The figures are not adjusted for seasonal variations, such as a decline in jobs at construction sites, parks, beaches and marinas when it gets colder.

In December, Lake County had the state's third-highest jobless rate at 5.2 percent, up from 5 percent in November and 4.8 percent in December 2017. 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 sixth out of Indiana's 92 counties at 4.7 percent unemployment in December, which was up from 4.5 percent in November. Joblessness in the Michigan City-LaPorte metro area, which is just LaPorte County, also rose by 0.2 percentage points month-over-month.

Porter County's unemployment ticked up to 3.9 percent in December, which was up from 3.8 percent in November and 17th highest statewide.

Overall, Indiana's unemployment rate stayed steady at 3.6 percent in December. The national unemployment rate was 3.9 percent last month.

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

Joblessness rose in December in East Chicago, Gary, Hammond, Hobart, Merrillville, Portage and Schererville, rising by as much as 0.7 percentage points in East Chicago. It fell month-over-month in Crown Point, Michigan City and Valparaiso, dropping by as much as .03 percentage points in Crown Point.

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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.