Published March 1, 2009 | March 2009 issue
If misery loves company, then about the only good news on the unemployment front in the Upper Peninsula is that the area is hardly alone, particularly in its own state. The most recent state figures for unemployment show that it increased significantly in late 2008, thanks to smaller than expected increases in seasonal workers for the holiday season and larger than expected layoffs in the rest of the economy.
Across Michigan, unemployment shot up to 10.6 percent in December, a huge jump from 7.4 percent a year earlier. Regional unemployment figures lag by a month and are not seasonally adjusted. But available figures show the U.P. on a similar unemployment path, from 6.8 percent to 9.4 percent, November to November. In fact, unemployment rose in all but five of Michigan's 83 counties, including all U.P. counties, more than half of which had unemployment rates over 10 percent. Another two were within two-tenths of a percent of that dubious mark. Menominee County took low honors with an unemployment rate of 7.2 percent.
—Ronald A. Wirtz