U.P. jobless rate edges down

ESCANABA – The unemployment rate in the Upper Peninsula edged down in May, dropping -0.3 of a percentage point to 9.5 percent.

Locally, Delta County’s jobless rate dropped from 9.6 percent to 9.4 percent in May. That compares to 8.4 percent a year ago. Schoolcraft County’s unemployment figure also dropped from 13.5 percent to 12.6 percent in May. That compares to 11.4 percent a year ago. Menominee County’s jobless rate dropped 6.9 percent to 6.6 percent in May. The county’s jobless rate was 7 percent at this time last year.

In May, unemployment rates contracted in nine of the Upper Peninsula’s 15 counties with monthly reductions ranging from -0.2 of a percentage point (Luce, Dickinson, Delta, Baraga and Iron counties) to -10.7 percentage points (Mackinac County).

Counties with monthly jobless rate increases were primarily in the Western Upper Peninsula, with the largest advances registered by Houghton and Keweenaw counties, both moving up by 1.0 percentage point.

The jobless rate in Mackinac County plunged in May to 6.1 percent, the lowest in the Upper Peninsula. Below average rates also occurred in Menominee and Dickinson counties at 6.6 and 7.7 percent, respectively. Baraga County recorded the highest jobless rate in Michigan in May at 17.6 percent. Above average rates were also posted in Ontonagon County (15.3 percent) and Keweenaw County (14.5 percent).

As expected, a seasonal employment advance occurred in the Upper Peninsula during May, with the arrival of the tourism and recreation season.

Seasonal job gains are usually reported in May in sectors such as construction, transportation, recreation, and accommodation and food services.

Over the past year, the Upper Peninsula unemployment rate moved up by 0.6 of a percentage point. Since May 2012, jobless rates rose in 13 of the 15 regional counties.

The largest over-the-year rate advances were registered in Keweenaw and Ontonagon counties, up by 2.5 and 1.7 percentage points, respectively. Menominee and Mackinac were the only U.P. counties with rate declines since May 2012.

The Upper Peninsula’s not seasonally adjusted May 2013 jobless rate of 9.5 percent was more than a full percentage point above the Michigan rate of 8.4 percent, and well above the national rate of 7.3 percent.