Unemployment in U.P. declines

ESCANABA – The unemployment rate in the Upper Peninsula edged down in May, dropping 0.3 of a percentage point to 9.5 percent.

In May, unemployment rates contracted in nine of the Upper Peninsula’s 15 counties with monthly reductions ranging from 0.2 of a percentage point (Luce, Dickinson, Delta, Baraga and Iron counties) to 10.7 percentage points (Mackinac County).

In the six-county Western Upper Peninsula region, the jobless rate is a state-high 17.6 percent in Baraga County, 15.3 percent in Ontonagon County, 14.5 percent in Keweenaw County, 11.5 percent in Gogebic County, 10.2 percent in Houghton County and 9.8 percent in Iron County.

Counties with monthly jobless rate increases were primarily in the Western Upper Peninsula, with the largest advances registered by Houghton and Keweenaw counties, both moving up by 1.0 percentage point.

The jobless rate in Mackinac County plunged in May to 6.1 percent, the lowest in the Upper Peninsula. Below average rates also occurred in Menominee and Dickinson counties at 6.6 and 7.7 percent, respectively.

Above average rates were also posted in Ontonagon County (15.3 percent) and Keweenaw County (14.5 percent).

As expected, a seasonal employment advance occurred in the Upper Peninsula during May, with the arrival of the tourism and recreation season.

Seasonal job gains are usually reported in May in sectors such as construction, transportation, recreation, and accommodation and food services.

Over the past year, the Upper Peninsula unemployment rate moved up by 0.6 of a percentage point.

Since May 2012, jobless rates rose in 13 of the 15 regional counties.

The largest over-the-year rate advances were registered in Keweenaw and Ontonagon counties, up by 2.5 and 1.7 percentage points, respectively. Menominee and Mackinac were the only U.P. counties with rate declines since May 2012.

The Upper Peninsula’s not seasonally adjusted May 2013 jobless rate of 9.5 percent was more than a full percentage point above the Michigan rate of 8.4 percent, and well above the national rate of 7.3 percent.