Jobless rates hit year low
MANISTIQUE – The unemployment rate in Schoolcraft County decreased in October, in line with most of the Upper Peninsula. All but two of the U.P.’s 15 counties registered jobless rate declines, with modest rate reductions ranging from 0.3 to 0.9 percentage points across the board.
The unemployment rate in the U.P. contracted in October to 6.8 percent, a drop of four-tenths of a percentage point from the September rate of 7.2 percent. This was the lowest rate recorded so far in 2012. Among the counties posting rate decreases during the month, Baraga and Gogebic counties had the largest drop at 0.9 percentage points, followed by Luce and Menominee counties, with declines of 0.8 and 0.6 percentage points, respectively.
Mackinac and Keweenaw counties reported seasonal rate increases, moving up by 0.7 and 1.2 percentage points, respectively.
Schoolcraft County dropped from 9 to 8.7 percent in October, while Alger County decreased from 8.4 to 8 percent.
During October, Mackinac County had the lowest unemployment rate in Michigan at 4.3 percent. Below average rates were also reported by Menominee and Marquette counties with 5.7 and 5.8 percent, respectively. The highest jobless rate in Michigan was recorded in Baraga County at 12.7 percent.
Other U.P. counties with high jobless rates included Ontonagon County with 10.3 percent, Luce County at 9.3 percent, and Keweenaw County with 9.0 percent.
Despite the small drop in the U.P. jobless rate in October, total employment declined during the month. Job reductions in October in the U.P. usually occur in seasonal industries such as recreation services, hotels and restaurants, and the retail sector.
Since October 2011, the unemployment rate in the U.P. fell significantly by 1.3 percentage points, outpacing the Michigan decline of 0.8 percentage points.