Unemployment rises across U.P.

ESCANABA – 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 Upper Peninsula counties registered higher jobless rates during the month of December, with monthly rate increases ranging from 0.7 to 6.0 percentage points.

The jobless rate was 9.5 percent in Delta County during December. That’s an increase of 1.5 percent from November. The jobless rate a year ago was 9.6 percent.

The December unemployment rate was 12.7 percent in Schoolcraft County – up from 9.9 percent in November. The jobless rate was 13 percent in Schoolcraft County a year ago.

Menominee County had a less severe increase in the jobless rate. It was 6.9 percent in November, up from 6.2 percent the previous month. The unemployment rate in Menominee County was 6.5 percent a year ago.

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 Upper Peninsula 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 Upper Peninsula counties are seasonal and are concentrated primarily in construction.

Compared to a year ago, the Upper Peninsula jobless rate is just -0.3 of a percentage point lower than the December 2011 rate of 9.7 percent. Throughout 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 Upper Peninsula’s 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.