Jobless rate jumps in Delta County

ESCANABA – Delta County’s unemployment rate jumped in October, according to statistics released Tuesday by the state Department of Technology, Management and Budget. Delta County’s jobless rate was 9 percent in October, up from 8.3 percent in September. That compares to 7.2 percent a year ago.

Schoolcraft County’s jobless rate also increased from 11.3 percent in September to 12.2 percent in October. That compares to 9.7 percent a year ago.

The unemployment rate in Menominee County remained unchanged at 6.4 percent. That compares to 5.8 percent a year ago.

The Upper Peninsula jobless rate moved up during October to 8.6 percent, returning to the August level. October unemployment rates increased in all but two of the Upper Peninsula’s 15 counties, with monthly gains ranging from +0.4 of a percentage point (Dickinson and Houghton counties), to +1.5 percentage points (Mackinac County). Large seasonal October unemployment rate hikes also occurred in Baraga County (+1.4 percentage points) and Alger and Ontonagon counties, both up by 1.2 percentage points.

Mackinac County had the lowest October unemployment rate in the Upper Peninsula at 5.9 percent, followed by Menominee and Dickinson counties at 6.4 and 7.0 percent, respectively. Baraga County had the highest jobless rate in the U.P. in October at 16.0 percent, followed by Ontonagon County (13.3 percent) and Schoolcraft County (12.2 percent).

Job cuts in October in the Upper Peninsula generally occur for seasonal reasons and are usually concentrated in the hotel, restaurant, recreational service, and construction sectors.

A good measure of overall 2013 unemployment rate trends is a comparison of the January-October averages for 2013 versus the same period in 2012. The U.P. unemployment rate through the first 10 months of 2013 was 9.4 percent, nearly identical to the January-October 2012 rate of 9.3 percent. Over this period, jobless rates in nine of 15 U.P. counties recorded minimal change of less than 0.6 percentage points. Jobless rate increases so far in 2013 were most notable in Keweenaw County (+1.2 percentage points) and Schoolcraft County (+0.9 percentage points). The only U.P. county reporting a significant jobless rate reduction based on 10-month 2013 averages was Menominee County (-0.6 of a percentage point).

The Upper Peninsula’s not seasonally adjusted October 2013 unemployment rate of 8.6 percent was slightly above the Michigan rate of 8.3 percent, and well above the national rate of 7.0 percent.