Published November 1, 2002 | November 2002 issue
The latest figures show that U.P. unemployment has dropped slightly, by 0.7 percent from July to August, holding at 5.6 percent for the region. In January the U.P.'s unemployment rate was a little over 8 percent. The central U.P. historically experiences the lowest unemployment in the region, with Menominee, Marquette, Alger and Dickinson counties as the low-unemployment leaders.
Between 1980 and 2001, the U.P. unemployment rate averaged 2.5 percentage points higher than the state of Michigan and 4 percentage points higher than the national average, but followed state and national unemployment trends during that period. Total unemployment fell by 47 percent from 1983 to 2002, while the civilian labor force increased by only 9.6 percent during that period, according to Tawni Ferrarini, Northern Michigan University. Mining issues and back-to-back recessions in the United States during the early 1980s contributed to 1983's significantly high unemployment.