Unemployment rose across most of Northwest Indiana in January, with Lake and LaPorte counties having the highest jobless rates in the state.
LaPorte County ranked second in joblessness statewide, while Porter County ranked 19th.
Cities in north Lake County were especially hard-hit by the ongoing economic fallout of COVID-19. More than 10% of the population was unemployed in Gary and East Chicago in January, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.
The jobless rate peaked at a staggering 19.4% last April but fell for much of the year after that peak. The jobless rate rose again to 6.6% in January across the Gary metropolitan area, which encompasses Lake, Porter, Newton and Jasper counties. The unemployment rate in the Gary metro area was 6.3% in December and just 5% in January a year prior.
In January, Lake County had the Hoosier state's highest jobless rate at 7.4%, up from 7.1% in December and up significantly from 5.3% in January 2020. LaPorte County ranked second highest out of Indiana's 92 counties at 6.8% unemployment in January, which was up from 7.1% in December and up significantly from 4.7% at the same time a year ago, according to the Department of Workforce Development.
Porter County's unemployment rose to 5% in January, up from 4.7% in December and up from 4.3% at the same point a year earlier.
Overall, Indiana's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.2% in January, down from 4.6% the previous month, while the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 6.3%, down from 6.7%, the previous month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Unemployment climbed as high as 12% in Northwest Indiana during the depths of the Great Recession more than a decade ago, but had been significantly higher in Northwest Indiana during the pandemic, following stay-at-home orders meant to stop the spread of a virus that has killed more than 550,000 Americans thus far. More than one out of 10 Region residents on average were out of work for months.
In January, joblessness rose in nearly every Northwest Indiana city and town in which it's tracked, save for Hammond and Michigan City, where it dipped slightly, and Gary, where it was flat. In the Calumet Region, Gary had the highest jobless rate of 14.4%, East Chicago the second-highest of 11.8%, Michigan City the third-highest of 9.1%, and Merrillville the fourth highest of 8.4%.
Schererville had the lowest jobless rate in the Region at 4.7%, followed by Crown Point and Valparaiso, both at 4.8%.
NWI Business Ins and Outs