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Unemployment falls across Northwest Indiana, but Lake County has worst joblessness in state

Unemployment falls across Northwest Indiana, but Lake County has worst joblessness in state

Unemployment falls across Northwest Indiana

Unemployment fell in Northwest Indiana last month.

Unemployment fell across Northwest Indiana last month to the lowest point since the COVID-19 pandemic began, but Lake County had the highest jobless rate in the state at 7.4%.

LaPorte County ranked third in joblessness statewide, while Porter County ranked 14th.

Cities in north Lake County were especially hard-hit by the economic fallout of COVID-19. More than 15% of people were still unemployed in Gary and 11% in East Chicago in November, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. Unemployment also nearly reached double digits in Michigan City.

The jobless rate peaked at a staggering 19.4% in April but fell to 6.6% in November across the Gary metropolitan area, which encompasses Lake, Porter, Newton and Jasper counties. The unemployment rate in the Gary metro area was 6.9% in October and just 4.1% in November a year prior.

In November, Lake County had the Hoosier state's highest jobless rate at 7.4%, down from 7.8% in October but up significantly from 4.4% in November 2019. LaPorte County ranked third highest out of Indiana's 92 counties at 6.9% unemployment in November, which was down from 7% in October but up significantly from 3.7% at the same time a year ago, according to the Department of Workforce Development.

Porter County's unemployment dropped to 5.2% in November, down from 5.4% in October but up from 3.4% at the same point a year earlier. 

Overall, Indiana's unemployment rate fell to 5% in November, down from 5.5% the previous month, while the U.S. unemployment rate stood at 6.7%, down from 6.9%, 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 329,000 Americans thus far. More than one out of 10 Region residents on average were out of work for months.

In November, joblessness fell in nearly every Northwest Indiana city and town in which it's tracked. In the Calumet Region, Gary had the highest jobless rate of 15.1%, East Chicago the second highest of 11.7%, Michigan City the third highest of 9.8%, and Merrillville the fourth highest of 8.3%. Schererville's jobless rate was unchanged at 4.9%, while unemployment ticked up 0.1% to 6.6% in Hobart last month.

Valparaiso and Crown Point tied for the lowest jobless rate in the Region at 4.7%.

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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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