Joblessness surges in U.P.

MARQUETTE – The unemployment rate in the Upper Peninsula rose seasonally by nearly a full percentage point in January to 10.3 percent, officials announced.

All but one of the Upper Peninsula’s 15 counties posted higher jobless rates in January, with Mackinac County recording the largest rate increase (4.8 percentage points), followed by Schoolcraft County, up by 2.2 percentage points, reported the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget Bureau of Labor Market Information & Strategic Initiatives.

Jobless rate hikes in January were due to typical seasonal job cuts in construction and retail, officials said.

Only one county (Luce) reported a jobless rate decrease during January (down by just 0.1 of a percentage point to 11.6 percent).

Menominee County (7.2 percent) posted the lowest unemployment rate in the Upper Peninsula in January, followed by Marquette and Dickinson counties at 7.9 and 8.3 percent, respectively. Dickinson County’s jobless rate was 7.6 percent in December.

Mackinac County posted the highest jobless rate in Michigan in January at 23.1 percent.

Above average rates were also recorded in Baraga County (18.2 percent), Keweenaw County (16.4 percent) and Schoolcraft County (15.9 percent).

Iron County’s jobless rate for January was 10.5 percent, up from 9.3 percent in December.

Delta County’s unemployment rate was 10.7 percent while Houghton County’s was 8.8 percent.

Since January 2012, the Upper Peninsula unemployment rate edged down by 0.6 of a percentage point. Over the year, jobless rates dropped in 12 of the 15 regional counties.

The largest rate reductions were reported in Alger County (1.6 percentage points) and Baraga County (1.3 percentage points).

Among the three counties experiencing an increase in jobless rates since January 2012, Keweenaw County had the largest rate jump of 3.1 percentage points, followed by Schoolcraft County (0.3 percentage points) and Iron County (0.2).

The Upper Peninsula’s not seasonally adjusted January 2013 unemployment rate of 10.3 percent was slightly above the Michigan rate of 9.7 percent, and nearly two percentage points above the national rate of 8.5 percent.

The U.P. jobless rate in December was 9.4 percent.

Labor force data for all months of 2012 have been revised.