U.P. unemployment rate up slightly

ESCANABA – The Upper Peninsula jobless rate edged up slightly in February to 10.5 percent, a gain of 0.2 of a percentage point over January’s rate of 10.3 percent, according to statistics released by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

In Delta County, February’s jobless rate rose to 11 percent, up from 10.7 percent in January. The jobless rate was 10.9 percent a year ago.

Schoolcraft County’s unemployment rate was 16.1 percent, up from 15.8 percent in January. The unemployment rate as 15.7 percent a year ago.

Menominee County’s jobless rate remained unchanged at 7.2 percent. The unemployment rate there was 7.9 percent a year ago.

In the month of February, 11 of the Upper Peninsula’s 15 counties posted higher jobless rates, although most increases were modest.

Monthly rate gains ranged from 0.1 of a percentage point (Ontonagon and Dickinson counties) to 1.5 percentage points (Mackinac County). February jobless rate reductions were reported in Luce County, down by -0.4 of a percentage point, and Keweenaw County, down by -1.1 percentage points.

Payroll job cuts in the Upper Peninsula in February are usually concentrated in construction and retail.

Menominee County (7.2 percent) registered the lowest unemployment rate in the Upper Peninsula during February. Additional U.P. counties with jobless rates below the Michigan average included Marquette (8.2 percent), Dickinson (8.4 percent), and Houghton (9.2 percent). Mackinac County recorded the highest jobless rate in Michigan in February at 24.6 percent.

Above average rates were also posted in Baraga County (18.7 percent), Schoolcraft County (16.1 percent) and Keweenaw County (15.3 percent).

Compared to a year ago, the Upper Peninsula unemployment rate fell by -0.4 of a percentage point. Since February 2012, jobless rate changes were mixed with rate reductions in eight of the 15 regional counties. The largest rate cuts were reported in Alger County (-1.1 percentage points) and Menominee, Luce and Gogebic counties, all down by -0.7 of a percentage point. Five counties experienced rate hikes. Keweenaw County had the largest increase at 1.4 percentage points, while the jobless rate advances in the remaining four counties ranged from 0.1 to 0.4 of a percentage point.

The Upper Peninsula’s not seasonally adjusted February 2013 unemployment rate of 10.5 percent was higher than Michigan’s average rate of 9.3 percent and the national rate of 8.1 percent.