The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Area unemployment improves


June 29, 2019


The 15-county Upper Peninsula employment picture has improved, but Gogebic and Ontonagon counties still lag behind much of the state, according to a Department of Technology, Management and Budget report from the state of Michigan on Thursday.

The report said the U.P. civilian labor force was at 136,800 in May. This is a 0.4% annual increase from 136,300 in May 2018, and a 0.4% monthly increase from 136,600 in April 2019.

U.P. unemployment was at 4.9% in May with 6,700 people reported working. This is a 2.9 percent improvement from 5.1% in May 2018 when unemployment was at 6,900. More remarkably, the May report was a 14.1 percent improvement from a month earlier in April 2019 when there were 8,800 reported unemployed.

Staff of the Department of Technology, Management and Budget were not able to be reached to clarify the cause of the significant difference from April to May.

Gogebic County’s 5.2% unemployment rate ranked 63rd among the state’s 83 counties in May, according to the Michigan Department of Technology, Management amd Budget. Ontonagon County ranked 81st with 7.4% unemployment.

Ottawa County had the lowest unemployment rate at 2.6% in May. Alger County had the highest unemployment rate at 7.8%.

The overall Michigan unemployment rate is at 3.9 percent, which is a 0.4% increase from 3.5% in May 2018, and a 0.2% increase from 3.7 percent in April 2019.

The non-seasonally adjusted employment and unemployment data may differ from previously reported information, the report said. Seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates in May edged up in 12 of Michigan’s 17 regional labor markets, and total employment and total workforce levels rose in most labor market areas over the month.

Between April and May, total employment levels moved up seasonally in twelve labor market areas, the report said.

“Most metro areas in Michigan recorded modest jobless rate advances in May,” said Jason Palmer, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. “Significant employment gains were seen in the state’s northern Lower Michigan regions due to seasonal hiring in the recreation services industry.”

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