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Unemployment rises sharply across Northwest Indiana

Job-seekers visit various booths during the Family Christian Center Job Opportunity Fair in Munster in 2014. Joblessness rose by 0.5 percent in the Gary metro area in October.

Unemployment rose sharply across Northwest Indiana in October, shooting up by as much as 0.8 percent in Hammond.

Joblessness increased last month by 0.5 percentage points to 4.6 percent across the Gary metropolitan area, which encompasses Lake, Porter, Newton and Jasper counties. The unemployment rate in the Gary metro was 4.1 percent in September and 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 and marinas when it gets colder.

In October, Lake County had the state's third highest jobless rate at 4.9 percent, up from 4.4 percent in September and 4.6 percent in October 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 ninth out of Indiana's 92 counties at 4.3 percent unemployment, which was up from 3.8 percent in August. Joblessness in the Michigan City-LaPorte metro area, which is just LaPorte County, also rose by 0.5 percentage points month-over-month.

Porter County's unemployment shot up to 3.8 percent, up from 3.4 percent the month prior but 25th highest in the state.

Overall, Indiana's unemployment rate stayed steady at 3.5 percent in October, and Illinois' jobless rate ticked up to 4.2 percent, up 0.1 percent from the month prior. The national unemployment rate stood at 3.7 percent in October, unchanged from September.

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

Joblessness rose in every city and town in Northwest Indiana where the Indiana Department of Workforce Development tracks joblessness in October, rising by at least 0.5 percent in East Chicago, Hammond, Michigan City, Schererville and Valparaiso.

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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.