Unemployment rates mixed in Northwest Indiana in November

The gymnasium full of job seekers and employers at Hammond’s 12th annual job fair last year. Joblessness stayed steady at 4.6 percent in November.

Unemployment was mixed in Northwest Indiana in November, with the jobless rate falling from October in about half the cities and towns, and rising in the other half.

Joblessness stayed steady last month at 4.6 percent across the Gary metropolitan area, which encompasses Lake, Porter, Newton and Jasper counties. The unemployment rate in the Gary metro was 4.2 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 November, Lake County had the state's fourth-highest jobless rate at 5 percent, up from 4.9 percent in October and 4.5 percent in November 2017. Lake County's jobless rate remained higher than rates in the state, neighboring Illinois, the Chicago area as a whole and the country.

LaPorte County ranked 12th out of Indiana's 92 counties at 4.5 percent unemployment, which was up from 4.3 percent in October. 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 shot up to 3.8 percent, which is 32nd highest in the state and unchanged from the previous month.

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Overall, Indiana's unemployment rate ticked up to 3.6 percent in November. The national unemployment rate stood at 3.7 percent in November, unchanged from October.

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

Joblessness fell in Crown Point, East Chicago, Gary, Merrillville and Schererville in November, dropping by as much as 0.5 percent in Gary. Unemployment rose in Hammond, Hobart, Michigan City, Portage and Valparaiso last month, climbing by as much of 0.4 percent in Hammond, Hobart, and Michigan City.

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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.