Unemployment Trends Leave Some Jobless Rates Up on the Housetop

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Drazen Zigic
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Layoffs associated with the auto sector strike raised the roof on October unemployment levels in a few Southwest Michigan counties, with St. Joseph County hit the hardest. Despite this unexpected snowstorm (yes, remember that on Halloween?), the month recorded typical employment changes. Education returned to full staffing, while jobs in Leisure and Hospitality continued to decline. Manufacturing jobs continued to drive rates down overall as employment in this sector has improved considerably since the end of the 2009 recession in the regional metro areas of Kalamazoo, Calhoun, and Berrien. In the race for the lowest rate, Kalamazoo (3.0%) and Berrien (3.1%) vied antler to antler, with Kalamazoo nosing out its neighbor to the west in this reindeer game.

More Labor Market News from the state of Michigan can be found here.

2019 OCTOBER SEPTEMBER AUGUST
COUNTY Labor Force Employment Unemployment Jobless Rate Jobless Rate Jobless Rate
Berrien 73,061 70,779 2,282 3.1% 3.5% 4.2%
Branch 19,637 18,870 767 3.9% 3.6% 4.0%
Calhoun 61,938 59,754 2,184 3.5% 3.9% 4.5%
Cass 24,407 23,515 892 3.7% 3.9% 4.5%
Kalamazoo 133,398 129,406 3,992 3.0% 3.3% 3.7%
St. Joseph 27,569 26,279 1,290 4.7% 3.7% 4.5%
Van Buren 35,557 34,351 1,206 3.4% 3.8% 4.5%
Southwest Michigan 375,567 362,954 12,613 3.4% 0.0% 4.1%
           
AREAS
Michigan 4,941,000 4,767,000 174,000 3.5% 3.7% 4.2%
USA 164,576,000 159,067,000 5,510,000 3.3% 3.3% 3.8%
Source: Michigan DTMB, Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), October 2019. Notes: All estimates are preliminary. Data is not seasonally adjusted.

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