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Unemployment falls throughout Northwest Indiana
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Unemployment falls throughout Northwest Indiana

Unemployment falls throughout Northwest Indiana

Jacob Novak, sitting, of Hobart and others wait in line to enter last year's Northwest Indiana City Wide Diversity Hiring Fair at the Genesis Center in Gary. The unemployment rate for Northwest Indiana fell to 6.1 percent in June as compared to the 7.3 percent rate one year ago. It was as high as 12 percent in Northwest Indiana during the Great Recession.

Unemployment fell throughout Northwest Indiana in June as thousands of more residents found work.

The jobless rate in the Gary metropolitan area — which spans Lake, Porter, Newton and Jasper counties — dropped to 6.1 percent in June, down from 6.4 percent in May, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. Unemployment in the Michigan City metro, which is just LaPorte County, decreased from 6 percent in May to 5.7 percent in June.

Statewide, joblessness fell under 5 percent in June for the first time since the Great Recession began in 2008. Indiana is now at what economists call "full employment," or what's believed to be a natural jobless rate in a healthy economy.

An estimated 321,999 people were employed in the Gary metro in June, or about 2,872 more than in May. About 759 more people got jobs in LaPorte County last month, bringing the total number of employed people in the Michigan metro up to 46,523.

Joblessness is 1.2 percent lower in the Gary metro and 1.4 percent less in the Michigan City metropolitan area than it was a year ago. Unemployment had been as high as 12 percent in Northwest Indiana during the economic downturn.

Lake County still had the second highest unemployment rate in the state at 6.5 percent in June, and LaPorte County had the 13th highest out of Indiana's 92 counties.

Unemployment fell in every major city and town in the region, except for Schererville and Valparaiso, where it remained static. Hobart posted the most dramatic drop, seeing joblessness fall from 7.8 percent to 6.9 percent.

Gary had the highest jobless rate in the region of 9.7 percent, while Schererville's 4.6 percent rate was the lowest.

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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.

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