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January 3, 2013

November jobless rates edge downward in majority of Michigan’s regional labor markets

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Written by: Bruce Snook
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Lansing – Seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates declined slightly in 14 of Michigan’s 17 major labor market areas in November, according to the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget. Total employment and labor force levels decreased in all regions over the month.

“Unemployment rates declined over the month throughout Michigan mostly due to a reduction in the number of individuals actively seeking employment in November,” said Rick Waclawek, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information & Strategic Initiatives. “Retail trade jobs did rise seasonally as merchants hired for the holiday season, however this was offset by job cuts in other seasonal industries.”

From October to November, regional jobless rate declines were mostly minor with a median reduction of only 0.2 of a percentage point. The largest November drop of 0.8 of a percentage point was recorded in the Detroit-Warren-Livonia Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), while all other declines were limited to 0.3 of a percentage point or less. The three northernmost Michigan regions posted seasonal rate advances with the Northeast Lower Michigan region registering a hike of one percentage point, while both the Northwest Lower Michigan region and the Upper Peninsula showed unemployment rate increases of 0.7 of a percentage point over the month.

County Jobless Rates Mixed Over Month, Down Over Year

Slightly over half of Michigan’s 83 counties recorded jobless rate increases in November. These hikes were seasonal and occurred mostly in the state’s northern areas. Thirty-five counties reported mostly minor unemployment rate declines over the month, while rates were unchanged in five. In November, 67 Michigan counties displayed jobless rates below 10.0 percent.

From November 2011 to November 2012, unemployment rates decreased in 79 Michigan counties, with a 1.3 percentage point median decline. Three counties registered minor rate increases over this period, while one county’s rate was unchanged.

In Southwest Michigan, continued seasonal hiring in retail trade in November was largely offset by seasonal job cuts in construction and leisure and hospitality. As a result, a net seasonal labor force withdrawal throughout the region helped to bring down jobless rates in the majority of local labor markets. Unemployment rates edged down slightly in all four regional metro areas, and decreased in eight of the twelve regional counties. Rates were unchanged in Allegan and Barry counties, and rose in Cass and Van Buren.

In Branch County, the unemployment rate in November was 6.8 percent, down from 7.3 in October and 8.3 in November 2011.

In Cass County, the jobless rate in November was 6.5 percent, up from 5.7 in October, but lower than the 7.7 percent recorded in November 2011.

In St. Joseph County, November’s unemployment rate was 6.7 percent, down slightly from 6.8 in October and considerably lower than the 8.6 percent rate in November 2011.

For detailed information regarding Southwest Michigan, click on the following link:  November 2012 labor market analysis – Southwest Michigan.

Source:  Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget



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