UP unemployment rate drops in February to 6.3 percent

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(WLUC) - The jobless rate in the Upper Peninsula declined by 0.5 percentage points to 6.3 percent in February, the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget announced Friday.

This was the first February rate decrease since 2013 when the percent jobless dipped by 0.2 percentage points. The current reduction was the result of employment gains that outpaced an increase in the number of persons in the job market.

The February 2019 unemployment rate of 6.3 percent in the Upper Peninsula remained well above the statewide and national rates of 4.1 percent.

Jobless rates fell in all 15 Upper Peninsula counties during February.

These reductions ranged from -0.2 percentage points in Dickinson and Gogebic counties to -1.5 percentage points in Keweenaw County. Above average rate decreases were also recorded in the counties of Schoolcraft (-1.1 percentage points), Alger (-1.0 percentage points), and Chippewa, Baraga, and Mackinac (-0.9 percentage points each).

The lowest unemployment rates in the Upper Peninsula during February were reported in Menominee (4.1 percent) and Dickinson (4.2 percent) counties followed by Houghton (5.0 percent), and Gogebic and Marquette (5.5 percent each).

The highest unemployment rate in Michigan in February was posted by Mackinac County at 20.0 percent. Above average jobless rates were also registered in Alger County (9.0 percent), Schoolcraft County (8.5 percent), and Chippewa County (7.5 percent).

This region-wide reduction in the percent jobless was primarily due to education-related employment gains. U.P. employment rose 4,150 in February, and unemployment fell by 500. Total employment advanced in all counties in the region with the largest increases occurring in Houghton (+1,650) and Marquette (+1,500) counties.

Payroll job changes during the month of February tend to be concentrated in Construction, Retail trade, and the education component of State and Local government as well as private Education services. February job levels typically fall in the Construction and Retail sectors but can rise among local schools and universities with the continuation of the school year.

Between February 2018 and February 2019, the Upper Peninsula jobless rate moved lower by 1.3 percentage points. This was greater than the 0.8 percentage point decrease statewide during this period. All counties in the region reported over the year rate declines with the largest reductions in Mackinac (-3.1 percentage points), Ontonagon (-2.2 percentage points), and Chippewa (-2.0 percentage points).