Jobless rate changes little

ESCANABA – The unemployment rate in the Upper Peninsula changed little in April, dipping by -0.1 of a percentage point to 9.8 percent.

This did not match the typical seasonal pattern, as jobless rates in the U.P. usually drop by more than a full percentage point in April.

Locally, the jobless rate declined in Delta County. The unemployment rate in April was 9.6 percent compared to 10.2 percent in March.

Unemployment also decreased in Schoolcraft County. The jobless rate was 13.5 percent in April compared to 14.9 percent the previous month.

The jobless rate in Menominee County rose slightly from 6.4 percent in March to 6.9 percent in April. Menominee County, however, still posted the lowest jobless rate in the Upper Peninsula during April, followed by Dickinson and Marquette counties at 7.9 and 8.3 percent, respectively. Baraga County (17.7 percent) and Mackinac County (16.8 percent) had the highest jobless rates in Michigan in April.

During the month, unemployment rates fell in seven of the Upper Peninsula’s 15 counties with monthly decreases ranging from -0.2 of a percentage point (Baraga and Iron counties) to -5.7 percentage points (Mackinac County). Among the counties with increased jobless rates in April, Houghton County had the smallest gain at 0.1 of a percentage point, while the largest advances for the month were posted by Ontonagon and Gogebic counties, up by 0.9 and 1.1 percentage points, respectively.

Dickinson County registered no jobless rate change over the month.

Typically, seasonal payroll job increases occur in the Upper Peninsula during April in sectors such as construction, retail trade and accommodation and food services. However, adverse weather conditions in April 2013 likely delayed some of these seasonal job gains.

Compared to a year ago, the Upper Peninsula jobless rate edged up by 0.4 of a percentage point. Since April 2012, jobless rates increased in 12 of the 15 regional counties. The largest over-the-year rate gains occurred in Mackinac and Baraga counties, up by 1.9 and 1.0 percentage points, respectively. Menominee, Alger and Gogebic were the only U.P counties to report rate drops since April 2012.

The Upper Peninsula’s not seasonally adjusted April 2013 unemployment rate of 9.8 percent was higher than Michigan’s average rate of 8.2 percent and the national rate of 7.1 percent.