2014-02-06 / Front Page

Area unemployment jumps in December

Schoolcraft County rate four percent above U.P.

MANISTIQUE – Unemployment in Schoolcraft County jumped in the month of December to 13.6 percent – well above the Upper Peninsula’s combined rate of 9.5 percent. Unemployment in the county was 12.8 percent in November.

During December, jobless rates advanced seasonally in all but three of the U.P.’s 15 counties, with monthly rate gains ranging from 0.2 to 3.6 percentage points. For the second consecutive month, Mackinac County reported the largest rate hike, increasing by 3.6 percentage points. This rate gain reflected ongoing typical reductions of seasonal tourism-related jobs. Above average unemployment rate advances were also registered by Baraga County (1.1 percentage points), and Chippewa and Schoolcraft counties, both up by 0.8 of a percentage point.

During December, the lowest jobless rate in the U.P. was recorded by Menominee County (6.2 percent), followed by Dickinson and Marquette counties at 7.4 and 7.5 percent, respectively. Mackinac County had the highest jobless rate in Michigan during December at 19.4 percent. Above average rates were also recorded in Baraga County (16.4 percent), Keweenaw County (15.9 percent), and Ontonagon County (13 percent).

Job cuts in December in the U.P. counties happen for seasonal reasons and are usually concentrated in construction and in tourism related establishments such as hotels and restaurants.

Annual averages show that the regional unemployment rate was fairly stable in 2013. The U.P. unemployment rate in 2013 was 9.4 percent, slightly higher than the 2012 annual rate of 9.2 percent. During 2013, jobless rates in 10 of the 15 U.P. counties recorded an increase, with the most notable gains reported in Keweenaw County (1 percentage point) and Schoolcraft County (0.9 percentage points). The U.P. county reporting the highest jobless rate reduction during 2013 was Menominee County (0.6 of a percentage point).

The Upper Peninsula’s not seasonally adjusted December 2013 unemployment rate of 9.5 percent was well above the Michigan (7.7 percent) and national (6.5 percent) rates.

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