Metro / News

Isabella County seventh most employed in the state; drop reported in national youth unemployment

More people in Isabella County are now employed following the beginning of the school year.

Unemployment in the county, as well as mid-Michigan, followed the statewide trend of declining by about 1 percent. The September unemployment rate now sits at 5.6 percent, down from 6.7 percent in August. October numbers are expected to be released soon.

National youth unemployment, those between 18 and 29 years old, was reported at 12 percent in September, down from 12.7 percent in August. This figure excludes 1.7 million 18-29 year-olds who have given up looking for employment, and if included, the national rate would be 16.5 percent.

Statewide unemployment also declined to 8.2 percent, down from 9.2 in August and just above the 7.9 percent national rate. The October 2011 Michigan unemployment rate sat at 9.9 percent.

Two reasons for the increase in employment are due to seasonal employees leaving the labor force coupled with an increase in employment in the public sector, including public school faculty, said Jeff Aula, an economics analyst for the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives within the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

“It’s pretty standard stuff for September in the region, but also statewide,” Aula said. “Over the year, we do see employment growth in the area.”

The employment growth Aula referred to is the increase in employment in the three metropolitan areas. There have been 7,000 jobs created in the Flint area, along with 1,200 in both Saginaw and Bay City. This reflects a growth of 82,200 jobs statewide, a two-percent growth.

“Over the month, what we saw in all three MSA’s were monthly declines in the labor force,” Aula said. “These declines were the result of people leaving the seasonal labor force.”

Employment losses in the areas occurred mostly in leisure and hospitality.

Aula said the change was not unique.

“None of this stuff is out of the ordinary,” Aula said.

Western Michigan University’s Kalamazoo County is 12th on the list of most employed counties, coming in at 6.1 percent.

Michigan State University’s Ingham County fell to 24th on the list with 6.9 percent of its population being unemployed.

Washtenaw County, which includes Ann Arbor’s University of Michigan, is the second most employed county in the state with a low 5 percent unemployment rate.

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