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Taking the Temperature of the Regional Labor Market

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tadamichi
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December jobless rates rose slightly in most Southwest Michigan labor markets due to seasonal job cuts in the construction and mining, leisure and hospitality, business services, and government sectors. But, there’s no reason to get hot under the collar at this uptick.

The Kalamazoo-Portage metro area recorded an unemployment rate of 2.7 percent, which was below the Michigan unadjusted rate of 3.5 percent and anchored the region at a cumulative 3.3 percent. Elsewhere, Battle Creek’s jobless rate continued to match that of the state, while unemployment in Niles-Benton Harbor was a little above by a tenth of a percentage point. The Kalamazoo-Portage unemployment rate continued to rank fourth lowest among Michigan’s 14 metro areas, after Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids-Wyoming, and Lansing-East Lansing.

So, don’t let this month get you in a fever pitch. Since December 2018, local metro areas’ jobless rates dropped by between six and eight tenths of a percentage point. And, over the past year, employment was up in all regional metro areas, while unemployment was down with improvement ranging from 100 more jobs filled in Battle Creek to 2,600 in Kalamazoo.

2019
DECEMBER NOVEMBER OCTOBER
COUNTY Labor Force Employment Unemployment Jobless Rate Jobless Rate Jobless Rate
Berrien 73,433 70,805 2,628 3.6% 3.1% 3.1%
Branch 19,632 18,985 647 3.3% 3.1% 3.9%
Calhoun 62,634 60,464 2,170 3.5% 3.2% 3.5%
Cass 24,460 23,680 880 3.6% 3.3% 3.7%
Kalamazoo 134,260 130,609 3,651 2.7% 2.6% 3.0%
St. Joseph 27,618 26,717 901 3.3% 3.4% 4.7%
Van Buren 35,638 34,137 1,501 4.2% 3.5% 3.4%
Southwest Michigan 377,675 365,397 12,378 3.3% 3.0% 3.4%
           
AREAS
Michigan 4,933,000 4,758,000 175,000 3.5% 3.2% 3.5%
USA 164,007,000 158,504,000 5,503,000 3.4% 3.3% 3.3%

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