2013-05-30 / Front Page

Area jobless rate drops

Numbers edge down slightly in April

MANISTIQUE – The unemployment rate in the Upper Peninsula was little changed in April, dipping just slightly to 9.8 percent. This did not match the typical seasonal pattern, as jobless rates in the U.P. usually drop by more than a full percentage point in April.

During the month, unemployment rates fell in seven of the U.P.’s 15 counties, with monthly decreases ranging from 0.2 of a percentage point (Baraga and Iron counties) to 5.7 percentage points (Mackinac County). In Schoolcraft County, the jobless rate fell 1.4 percentage points from March’s rate of 14.9. Delta County saw a less dramatic drop, edging down from 10.2 in March to 9.6 percent in April.

Among the counties with increased jobless rates in April, Houghton County had the smallest gain at 0.1 of a percentage point, while the largest advances for the month were posted by Ontonagon and Gogebic counties, up by 0.9 and 1.1 percentage points, respectively. Dickinson County registered no jobless rate change over the month.

Typically, seasonal payroll job increases occur in the U.P. during April in sectors such as construction, retail trade and accommodation and food services. However, adverse weather conditions in April 2013 likely delayed some of these seasonal job gains.

Menominee County (6.9 percent) posted the lowest jobless rate in the U.P. during April, followed by Dickinson and Marquette counties at 7.9 and 8.3 percent, respectively.

Baraga County (17.7 percent) and Mackinac County (16.8 percent) had the highest jobless rates in Michigan in April.

Compared to a year ago, the U.P. jobless rate edged up by 0.4 of a percentage point. Since April 2012, jobless rates increased in 12 of the 15 regional counties.

The largest over-the-year rate gains occurred in Mackinac and Baraga counties, up by 1.9 and 1.0 percentage points, respectively. Menominee, Alger and Gogebic were the only U.P counties to report rate drops since April 2012.

The U.P.’s not seasonally adjusted April 2013 unemployment rate of 9.8 percent was higher than Michigan’s average rate of 8.2 percent and the national rate of 7.1 percent.

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