Upper Peninsula jobless rate drops

ESCANABA – The unemployment rate in the Upper Peninsula decreased in March to 9.9 percent, a drop of -0.6 of a percentage point below February’s rate of 10.5 percent.

The jobless rate also decreased locally. Delta County’s unemployment rate was 10.2 percent in March, a drop from 10.9 percent in February. The jobless rate was 10.4 percent a year ago.

Schoolcraft County’s jobless rate dropped to 15 percent in March, down from 16 percent in February. The unemployment rate there a year ago was 16 percent.

In Menominee County, the jobless rate was 6.4 percent in March, down from 7.2 percent in February. The unemployment rate in Menominee County a year ago was 8.1 percent.

During March, all but one of the Upper Peninsula’s 15 counties recorded lower jobless rates, although five of these counties posted modest rate reductions of 0.5 percentage points or less. One county (Houghton County) showed no rate change for the month. Among the counties reporting rate declines, Mackinac County had the largest drop at -2.0 percentage points, followed by Schoolcraft and Menominee counties down by -1.0 and -0.8 percentage points, respectively.

March payroll jobs usually edge up slightly in the Upper Peninsula with additions in the construction, manufacturing, and retail sectors.

Menominee County in March again recorded the lowest jobless rate in the Upper Peninsula (6.4 percent). Other U.P. counties with below average jobless rates included Marquette County (7.8 percent) and Dickinson County (7.9 percent). Mackinac County had the highest jobless rate in Michigan in March at 22.5 percent. Above average rates were also seen in Baraga County (17.9 percent), Schoolcraft County (15.0 percent), Keweenaw County (14.9 percent), and Ontonagon County (14.3 percent).

Since March 2012, the Upper Peninsula unemployment rate dropped by a full percentage point. Over the year, jobless rates fell in all 15 regional counties. The largest over-the-year rate reductions were reported in Alger County (-1.9 percentage points), Gogebic and Keweenaw counties (-1.8 percentage points), and Menominee and Luce counties with downward movements of -1.7 and -1.6 percentage points, respectively.

The Upper Peninsula’s not seasonally adjusted March 2013 jobless rate of 9.9 percent was well above the Michigan rate of 8.8 percent and the national rate of 7.6 percent.