Area’s unemployment rate drops

ESCANABA – The unemployment rate in the Upper Peninsula declined to 8.4 percent during May, a seasonal monthly reduction of 0.8 percentage points, according to data released by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

The jobless rate also declined locally. In Delta County, the unemployment rate was 8,3 percent in May, dropping from 8.7 percent in April. The jobless rate was 9.6 percent a year ago.

In Schoolcraft County, the jobless figure dropped from 12.6 percent in April to 10.7 percent in May. The unemployment rate was 12.6 percent in Schoolcraft County a year ago.

In Menominee County, May’s unemployment rate was 6.5 percent, down from 7.1 percent in April. The jobless rate was 7.1 percent there a year ago.

During May unemployment rates decreased in 12 of 15 Upper Peninsula counties with monthly reductions ranging from -0.1 of a percentage point (Baraga County) to -12.4 percentage points (Mackinac County). Houghton, Gogebic and Marquette counties reported minor rate increases of 0.4, 0.1, and 0.1 percentage points respectively.

Upper Peninsula counties with below average unemployment rates in May included Mackinac (5.4 percent), Menominee (6.5 percent), Dickinson (6.8 percent) and Marquette

(7.5 percent). The highest jobless rate in Michigan in May was in Ontonagon County at 13.8 percent. Above average rates also occurred in Baraga County (12.7 percent) and Keweenaw County (11.7 percent).

Employment in the U.P. rose seasonally by 2,700 in May, as hiring ramped up for the tourism and recreation season. Seasonal job advances in May generally occur in sectors such as construction, transportation, temporary services, and accommodation and food services.

Over the past year, the Upper Peninsula’s unemployment rate contracted by -1.4 percentage points, similar to the statewide reduction. Jobless rates declined over the year in all 15 U.P. counties. The largest rate cuts were recorded in Baraga County (-3.2 percentage points), Keweenaw County (-2.9 percentage points), Ontonagon County (-2.5 percentage points), and Gogebic County (-2.2 percentage points). Menominee County had the smallest jobless rate reduction since May 2013 (-0.6 percentage points).

The Upper Peninsula’s not seasonally adjusted May 2014 unemployment rate of 8.4 percent was above the Michigan and national rates of 7.3 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively.