Wednesday, January 27, 1999
Seven Areas Have Lower Unemployment Rates Than Year Ago December seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates increased in the state's 10 major labor market areas, Doug Rothwell, CEO and department director of the Michigan Jobs Commission, announced today. Increases ranged from one-tenth of a percentage point in the Detroit and Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) to 1.1 percent in the Upper Peninsula (UP) labor market area. The Ann Arbor MSA had the lowest December unemployment rate at 1.8 percent, and the UP had the highest at 6.9 percent. "The increases were mainly the result of seasonal employment declines in the construction industry, which is typical in December," Rothwell said. Despite the monthly increases, seven of Michigan's major labor market areas had lower unemployment rates than a year ago. They included the Ann Arbor MSA, Benton Harbor MSA, Detroit MSA, Flint MSA, Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland MSA, Jackson MSA and Lansing MSA. The Kalamazoo-Battle Creek MSA and the UP had the same unemployment rates as they had in December 1997, while the Saginaw-Bay-Midland MSA increased one-tenth of a percentage point. Labor Force & Employment Down for December, Up for 1998 Labor force and employment levels declined in all major labor market areas in December. However, eight of the 10 areas experienced increases in their labor force and employment numbers over year-ago levels. "Looking at 1998 as a whole, we set important new benchmarks. Unemployment continued to decline, and employment and labor force levels reached record highs," Rothwell said. For 1998, the annual average unemployment rates were down in eight of the 10 major labor market areas from their 1997 levels. The only exceptions were the Lansing MSA, which increased by two-tenths of a percent, and the Flint MSA, which rose by one-tenth of a percent. Payroll Jobs Decline Slightly According to the monthly survey of employers, the number of payroll jobs in Michigan decreased slightly in December by 1,000 to a total of 4,613,000. Construction jobs were down by 11,000, while government jobs decreased by 5,000. Retail jobs increased by 15,000. Payroll jobs increased in the Ann Arbor, Detroit, Flint and Grand Rapids -Muskegon-Holland MSAs with significant gains recorded in retail trade and the service industries. Payroll jobs decreased in the Benton Harbor, Jackson, Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, Lansing, and Saginaw-Bay-Midland MSAs and the UP. The majority of the losses were the result of declines in the manufacturing, construction and service sectors. A breakdown of seasonally unadjusted December work force estimates for Michigan and its 10 major labor markets along with an listing of county jobless rates are available by following these links.