BY KEITH BENMAN, Times of Northwest Indiana

Northwest Indiana in December notched the second highest year-to-year increase in unemployment of any heavily populated area of the United States, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday.

The unemployment rate in Northwest Indiana shot up to 8.3 percent in December from 4.6 percent one year ago, the bureau's Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment Report shows.

In all, 27,700 people were jobless in the region as -- compared to 15,000 one year ago -- as the slumping steel industry and other businesses continued to shed jobs.

Only the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale area in California had a larger year-to-year increase in unemployment, according to Wednesday's report.

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