Isabella County unemployment rate eighth lowest in state at 6.7 percent

Unemployment rates in Isabella County dropped 1.4 percent in August.

Isabella County ties with Ottawa County for the eighth lowest unemployment rate in Michigan, recording 6.7 percent of the population to be unemployed.

However, overall in Michigan according to the Department of Numbers, unemployment rate grew 0.4 percent in August, bringing the state unemployment number to 9.4 percent.

After reaching a post peak low of 8.3 percent in April 2012, Michigan’s unemployment rate has now grown by 1.1 percentage points, increasing every month since.

Jeff Aula, an economic analyst for the state, blames the unemployment increase on seasonal jobs.

“It’s typical in the summer months, which are June, July and August,” he said. “The month change is caused by the seasonal job seekers returning to other things and leaving the labor force.”

Although numbers have continually increased since April, Aula said unemployment numbers are lower than they were this time last year.

“Unemployment is down over the year,” he said. “August to August there has been a growth. Over the year the downward increase is caused by actual growth.”

However, Michigan’s August unemployment rate is the seventh highest in the country and nearly 1.5 percent higher than the nation’s 8.1 percent unemployment rate.

But the good news is Isabella County doesn’t fall into this deficit.

According to the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget, Isabella County’s unemployment numbers are much lower than the country’s and the state’s.

Chris Bailey, an assistant profesor of Economics, said with a slowdown of manufacturing in the middle of 2012, Michigan's unemployment rate rose more than most.

"Typically, counties that have a university as a main presence tend to have relatively low unemployment rates," he said. "Universities as employers tend not to have unexpected large changes in employment levels."
Leisure and hospitality jobs rose this summer in Michigan, as is typical of the profession.
Isabella County was lower than Kalamazoo County's 7.1 percent, home to Western Michigan University, and Ingham County's 7.9 percent, home to Michigan State University.

However, jobless rates for Washtenaw County — where the University of Michigan is located — are even lower at 5.9 percent.


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