2013-01-31 / Front Page

Area jobless rate spikes

December’s unemployment claims are ‘above average’

MANISTIQUE – Area unemployment made a significant jump to 12.7 percent in December, moving up in Schoolcraft County from 9.9 percent in November. The unemployment rate in the Upper Peninsula rose in December to 9.4 percent, a seasonal increase of 1.9 percentage points over the November rate of 7.5 percent.

All 15 U.P. counties registered higher jobless rates during the month of December, with monthly rate increases ranging from 0.7 to 6.0 percentage points. For the second consecutive month, Mackinac County recorded the largest rate increase, moving up by 6.0 percentage points. This rate gain reflected ongoing typical reductions of seasonal tourism-related jobs. Baraga and Schoolcraft counties also reported above average jobless rate hikes, moving up by 4.5 and 2.8 percentage points, respectively.

During December, the lowest jobless rate in the U.P. was posted by Menominee County at 6.9 percent, followed by Marquette and Dickinson counties with 7.3 and 7.5 percent, respectively. The highest jobless rates in Michigan were recorded by Baraga County (18.3 percent) and Mackinac County (17.9 percent). Other U.P. counties with high jobless rates included Keweenaw County (15.9 percent) and Ontonagon County (13.4 percent).

Job cuts in December in the U.P. counties are seasonal and are concentrated primarily in construction.

Compared to a year ago, the U.P. jobless rate is just -0.3 of a percentage point lower than the December 2011 rate of 9.7 percent. Over the year jobless rates edged down in 11 U.P. counties. Many over-the-year rate reductions were modest, although Gogebic and Mackinac counties had rate drops of about a full percentage point. The rate in Iron County was unchanged over-the-year, while Luce, Baraga and Menominee counties experienced minor rate gains since December 2011.

The U.P. not seasonally adjusted December 2012 unemployment rate of 9.4 percent was higher than Michigan’s average rate of 8.9 percent and the national rate of 7.6 percent.

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