ESCANABA - The jobless rate in the Upper Peninsula contracted in August to 8.4 percent, a monthly drop of 1.1 percentage points. Locally, Delta, Menominee and Schoolcraft counties all saw a drop in their rate from last month, as well.
Of the central U.P. counties, Schoolcraft County posted the highest drop - a decline of 1.5 points in its unemployment rate, from 11.3 in July to 9.8 in August. This is also down from a year ago, when unemployment there was at 11.1.
Delta and Menominee counties also saw a decrease in their unemployment rate, with Delta County falling 1.1 points to 8.3 in August, and Menominee County seeing a slight decrease from 7.8 in July to 7.2 in August.
During August, jobless rates decreased in all but one of the Upper Peninsula's 15 counties. Keweenaw County experienced a jobless rate increase of 0.7 percentage points to 9.0 percent. The largest jobless rate decline was reported by Baraga County (-1.9 percentage points), followed by Schoolcraft, Gogebic and Houghton counties all decreasing by -1.5 percentage points. The Michigan not seasonally adjusted jobless rate also moved down during August, falling by -1.1 percentage points to 9.2 percent.
During August, Mackinac County registered the lowest unemployment rate in Michigan at 3.8 percent, and below average rates were also posted by Menominee and Dickinson counties with 7.2 and 7.4 percent, respectively. The highest jobless rate in Michigan was recorded by Baraga County at 14.3 percent. Other Upper Peninsula counties with high jobless rates included Ontonagon County (12.1 percent) and Luce County (10.3 percent).
The drop in August jobless rates in many Upper Peninsula counties was primarily related to a seasonal reduction in the number of individuals actively looking for work. Payroll jobs in the Upper Peninsula tend to increase during August, and these gains are generally concentrated in construction, professional and technical services and sectors related to the recreation and tourism industries such as accommodation and food services.
Since August 2011, the unemployment rate in the Upper Peninsula has declined by -0.8 percentage points. Over the year, jobless rates fell in all 15 U.P. counties. The largest rate reductions were posted in Ontonagon and Baraga counties, both down by -2.7 percentage points, Gogebic County (-1.4 percentage points), Schoolcraft County (-1.3 percentage points) and Delta County (-1.1 percentage points).
The Upper Peninsula's not seasonally adjusted August 2012 unemployment rate of 8.4 percent remained lower than the Michigan rate of 9.2 percent, and was comparable to the national rate of 8.2 percent.