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January 25, 2013

December jobless rates increase seasonally in all of Michigan’s regional labor markets

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Written by: Bruce Snook
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Lansing – Seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates rose in all of Michigan’s 17 major labor market areas in December, according to the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget. Total employment levels decreased in most regions over the month, while labor force levels increased in the majority of areas.

“December labor market activity throughout the state was fairly normal as unemployment rates typically increase going into the winter months,” said Rick Waclawek, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information & Strategic Initiatives. “Michigan’s local labor market situation improved in 2012, as annual jobless rates fell for the second consecutive year in every major labor market area in the state.”

From November to December, regional jobless rate advances were large, but mostly seasonal. Increases ranged from 0.5 to 2.5 percentage points with a median hike of 1.3 percentage points. Michigan’s three northernmost labor market areas recorded the most significant unemployment rate increases, while only two areas recorded rate advances under a full percentage point. The Detroit-Warren-Livonia and the Ann Arbor Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) posted advances of 0.5 and 0.8 of a percentage point respectively over the month.

Annual Average Jobless Rates Down Over Year

Preliminary annual average data indicated that unemployment rates from 2011 to 2012 fell in all 17 major Michigan regions. Over-the-year rate drops ranged from 1.1 (Ann Arbor and Saginaw-Saginaw Township North MSAs) to 1.8 percentage points (Monroe MSA) with a significant median decline of 1.5 percentage points. The lowest 2012 annual rate of 5.4 percent was displayed in the Ann Arbor MSA, while the highest annual rate of 11.0 percent was posted in the Northeast Lower Michigan region. Seven Michigan regions recorded 2012 annual rates below the national annual rate of 8.1 percent.

Total Employment Down Over Month, Up Over Year

Over the month, total employment declined in 15 regions, showing a moderate median decrease of 0.8 percent. Employment levels were essentially unchanged in both the Flint and Muskegon-Norton Shores MSAs from November to December.

Since December 2011, total employment rose in 11 regions with gains averaging around 1.5 percent. The largest over-the-year increases of around 2.5 percent occurred in the Holland-Grand Haven, Kalamazoo-Portage, and Monroe MSAs. Five areas reported moderate employment reductions of around 1.0 percent or less over the year, while employment in the Saginaw-Saginaw Township North MSA was essentially unchanged.

County Jobless Rates Up Over Month, Down Over Year

All of Michigan’s 83 counties recorded jobless rate increases in December, with a significant median advance of 1.7 percentage points. These hikes were seasonal with the largest increases located in the state’s northern areas. In December, 18 Michigan counties displayed jobless rates at or below the national non-seasonally adjusted rate of 7.6 percent.

From December 2011 to December 2012, unemployment rates decreased in 71 Michigan counties, with a half percentage point median decline. Eleven counties registered mostly minor rate increases over this period, while one county’s rate was unchanged.

Seasonal job cuts and increase in number of jobseekers resulted in higher unemployment rates throughout Southwest Michigan Region

In December, seasonal job reductions continued to be recorded in construction and leisure and hospitality. Also, support staff in education was laid off temporarily during the holiday break. At the same time, more jobseekers entered the regional labor markets. As a result, jobless rates rose throughout the region by an average of 1.3 percentage points.

In Branch County the unemployment rate in December was 8.1 percent, up from 6.8 percent in November, but less than the 8.7 percent figure recorded in December 2011.

In Cass County the jobless rate in December was 8.1 percent, up from 6.5 percent in November, but down from 8.7 percent in December 2011.

In St. Joseph County, December’s unemployment rate was 7.6 percent, higher than the 6.7 percent rate measured in November, but significantly lower than the 9.1 percent rate in December 2011.

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

Source:  Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget


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