U.P., local jobless rates climb

ESCANABA – The November unemployment rate in the Upper Peninsula moved up to 7.5 percent, an increase of seven-tenths of a percentage point over the October rate of 6.8 percent. The figures were released Thursday by the Michigan Department of Management, Technology and Budget. All but two of the Upper Peninsula’s 15 counties reported higher jobless rates during November with monthly rate advances averaging 1.7 percentage points.

Locally, the jobless rate in Delta County jumped to 8 percent in November, up 1 percent from the previous month. The unemployment rate was 8.5 percent in November 2011.

Schoolcraft County’s jobless rate increased to 9.8 percent, up from 8.7 percent in October. Schoolcraft’s unemployment rate was 10.7 percent in November 2011.

In Menominee County the unemployment rate was 6.2 percent in November. The jobless rate was 5.6 percent in October and 6.3 percent in November 2011.

Mackinac County experienced the largest rate jump, moving up by 7.4 percentage points, due to the typical loss of seasonal tourism-related jobs. Keweenaw County also posted a notable jobless rate increase, increasing by 5.5 percentage points to 14.4 percent. The two counties showing minor unemployment rate decreases for the month were Marquette and Houghton counties, edging down by -0.1 and -0.4 percentage points, respectively.

During November, the lowest unemployment rate in the Upper Peninsula was recorded by Marquette County at 5.7 percent, and below average rates were also registered by Dickinson, Menominee and Houghton counties with 6.1, 6.2 and 6.3 percent, respectively. The highest jobless rates in Michigan were recorded by Keweenaw County at 14.4 percent and Baraga County at 13.6 percent. Other Upper Peninsula counties with high jobless rates included Mackinac County (11.7 percent) and Ontonagon County (11.3 percent).

Job cuts in November in the Upper Peninsula occur mainly for seasonal reasons and are usually reported in accommodation, food services, recreational services, construction, and transportation.

Over the past year, the jobless rate in the Upper Peninsula dropped by -1.1 percentage points. Jobless rates fell in all 15 U.P. counties since November 2011. The largest rate reductions were posted in Baraga County, down by -3.0 percentage points, followed by Ontonagon County (-2.2 percentage points), Mackinac County (-1.9 percentage points) and Gogebic County (-1.6 percentage points).

The Upper Peninsula’s not seasonally adjusted November 2012 unemployment rate of 7.5 percent remained below Michigan’s average rate of 7.9 percent, and comparable with the national rate of 7.4 percent.