Jobless rate in U.P. rises

ESCANABA -The unemployment rate in the Upper Peninsula rose seasonally in February to 10.6 percent, a gain of 0.9 of a percentage point over the January rate of 9.7 percent, according to data released Friday by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

Local jobless rates also increased in February. Unemployment in Delta County was 10.6 percent, up from 9.8 percent in January. That compares with an 11.6 percent jobless rate a year ago.

Schoolcraft County’s jobless rate was 14.8 percent, up from 14 percent in January. Unemployment was 15.6 percent a year ago.

In Menominee County, the unemployment rate was 8.1 percent in February, up from 6.9 percent the previous month. The jobless rate was also 8.1 percent a year ago.

During February, all but one of the Upper Peninsula’s 15 counties reported jobless rate increases. The monthly advances ranged from 0.3 percentage points (Alger County) to 2.0 full percentage points (Mackinac County). The only county posting a rate drop during February was Keweenaw County (-0.1 percentage points).

Payroll job reductions in the Upper Peninsula during February are usually concentrated in the construction and retail trade sectors.

The lowest unemployment rate in the Upper Peninsula during February was reported by Menominee County (8.1 percent), followed by Marquette and Dickinson counties at 8.4 and 8.6 percent, respectively. The highest unemployment rate in Michigan in February was registered by Mackinac County at 24.9 percent. Above average rates were also recorded in Schoolcraft County (14.8 percent), Baraga County (14.3 percent), Chippewa County (13.6 percent), and Ontonagon County (13.0 percent).

Compared to a year ago, the Upper Peninsula’s unemployment rate edged down by -0.4 percentage points. Jobless rates fell since February 2013 in all but three of the 15 regional counties.

The largest rate reductions occurred in Keweenaw County (-4.1 percentage points), Ontonagon County (-2.5 percentage points), and Alger County (-1.2 percentage points). The counties experienced jobless rates increases for the period were Chippewa County (+0.7 of a percentage point) and Mackinac County (+0.1 of a percentage point). The unemployment rate in Menominee County was unchanged over the year.

The Upper Peninsula’s not seasonally adjusted February 2014 jobless rate (10.6 percent) was well above the Michigan rate of 8.5 percent and the national rate of 7.0 percent.