Area jobless rate drops
MANISTIQUE – For the second month in a row, the Upper Peninsula’s unemployment rate has experienced a decline. The September rate dropped across the entire U.P., including Schoolcraft County.
The U.P.’s overall jobless rate declined 1.2 percentage points from August, coming in at 7.2 percent in September. This is the lowest rate recorded thus far in the region. In Schoolcraft County, the jobless rate dropped from 9.8 percent in August to 9 percent in September.
Unemployment in Alger County decreased by 0.6 percentage points, hitting 8.4 percent in September. Luce County experienced a drop of 0.3 percentage points to 10 percent in September.
Despite a decrease in all 15 of the U.P.’s counties, the sharpest jobless rate decline was reported in Marquette County, down by 1.7 percentage points, followed by Houghton and Ontonagon counties, with reductions of 1.6 and 1.4 percentage points, respectively.
The Michigan not seasonally adjusted jobless rate also contracted during September, moving down by 1.0 percentage point to 8.2 percent.
During September, Mackinac County recorded the lowest unemployment rate in Michigan at 3.6 percent, and below average rates were also registered by Marquette, Menominee, and Dickinson counties. The highest jobless rate in Michigan occurred in Baraga County, with 13.6 percent. Other U.P. counties with double-digit jobless rates include Ontonagon County, which had 10.7 percent and Luce County, with 10 percent.
The decline in September jobless rates in the U.P. was partially related to some recalls of previously laid off workers, and due to a seasonal contraction in the number of individuals actively seeking employment. Payroll jobs in the U.P. tend to record a seasonal reduction during September, with job cuts in the retail sector and in tourism-related recreation services and the hotel industry.
Over the past year, the unemployment rate in the U.P. has decreased by 1.6 percentage points. Since September 2011, jobless rates have fallen in all 15 counties. The largest rate reduction was posted in Ontonagon County, with 3.6 percentage points, followed by Schoolcraft County, by 3.1 percentage points, Baraga County, with 2.6 percentage points, and Gogebic County, by 2.1 percentage points.
The U.P.’s not seasonally adjusted September 2012 unemployment rate of 7.2 percent was a full percentage point below the Michigan rate of 8.2 percent, and also edged below the national rate of 7.6 percent.