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Unemployment ticks down across much of Northwest Indiana

Job seekers wait in line at a job fair at the Dolphin Mall in Sweetwater, Florida. Unemployment in the Gary metropolitan area dropped to 4.6 percent in July, down from 4.7 percent in June.

Unemployment decreased across much of Northwest Indiana in July, falling by as much as 0.4 percentage points in Hobart and Portage.

Joblessness dropped last month to 4.6 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 down from 4.7 percent in June and from 4.8 percent the previous July.

In June, Lake County had the state's sixth-highest jobless rate of 4.9 percent, down from 5 percent the previous month but higher than the rest of the state, neighboring Illinois, the rest of the Chicago area and the rest of the country.

LaPorte County ranked 14th out of Indiana's 92 counties at 4.2 percent unemployment, which was down from 4.4 percent in June. Joblessness in the Michigan City-LaPorte metro area, which is just LaPorte County, declined to 4.2 percent in July, down from 4.4 percent in June.

Porter County's unemployment dipped to 3.9 percent, 22th highest in the state and down from 4 percent the month prior.

Overall, Indiana's unemployment rate ticked up to 3.4 percent in July, the second straight monthly increase, while Illinois' jobless rate dipped by 0.1 percentage points to 4.2 percent in July, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The national unemployment rate stood at 3.9 percent in July.

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

Joblessness fell or stayed steady in nearly every city and town in Northwest Indiana last month, but rose by 0.1 percentage points in Schererville and 0.2 in Merrillville. It dropped by 0.2 percentage points in Gary, and 0.1 in Michigan City 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.