Northwest Indiana saw an increase in unemployment in January, while Lake County saw its unemployment rate drop to the sixth highest in Indiana. From a long time ago, Lake County has consistently ranked top or second in Indiana for unemployment. According to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Porter County was placed 23rd, Lake County was ninth, and LaPorte County was sixth in terms of overall unemployment.
The Gary metropolitan region, which includes the counties of Lake, Porter, Newton, and Jasper, saw an increase in the unemployment rate of 0.7 percentage points to 4.6% in January. In the Gary metro region, the unemployment rate was 3.9% the month before and 4.7% in January 2022.
With a rate of 4.9% in January, Lake County had the fifth-highest unemployment rate in Indiana, up from 4.3% in December and down from 5.2% in January 2022. In January, the most recent month for which data were available, Lake County was outperformed in unemployment by LaGrange, Noble, Starke, and Elkhart County.
According to the Department of Workforce Development, LaPorte County had the eighth-highest unemployment rate of Indiana’s 92 counties in January at 4.4%, up from 3.4% in December and 4.3% at the same time a year earlier. The unemployment rate in Porter County increased to 3.8% in January from 3.1% in December and 3.6% at the same time a year earlier.
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Overall, Indiana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 2.9% during the same period last year to 3.1% in January. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the country’s unemployment rate decreased to 3.5% in December from 3.6% at the same time last year.
When the Great Recession hit its worst in Northwest Indiana in the late 2000s, unemployment rose as high as 12%, but during the pandemic that followed stay-at-home orders intended to stop the spread of a virus that has killed more than 1.1 million Americans and more than 6.8 million people worldwide, it had been significantly higher. On average, more than one in ten residents of the region were unemployed for months.
In January, joblessness surged all across Northwest Indiana except in Gary, where it declined by 0.2 percentage points. In Portage and Schererville, it increased by 1 percentage point; in Crown Point and Hammond, by 0.9 percentage point; in East Chicago, by 0.8 percentage point; and in Valparaiso, it by 0.7 percentage points. East Chicago has the highest unemployment rate in the Calumet Region at 7%, followed by Gary at 6.7%, Merrillville at 5.2%, and Hobart at 5.2%. The lowest is in Valparaiso at 3.2%, followed by Crown Point at 4%, Schererville, and Portage at 4.5%, and Crown Point at 4%.
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