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.
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