UP jobless rate declines in Oct.

IRON MOUNTAIN — The Upper Peninsula’s jobless rate nudged lower in October, dropping 0.2 percent to 4.9 percent.

“This was very similar to the 0.3 percentage point rate cut in Michigan in October,” said Bruce Weaver, a state labor analyst.

Unemployment went down in 10 of the Upper Peninsula’s 15 counties, Weaver said. The largest declines were in Houghton and Ontonagon counties, at 0.6 percent. Mackinac County had the biggest gain, at 0.4 percent.

Compared with a year ago, jobless rate changes were minimal, Weaver noted. The overall U.P. rate inched down 0.3 percent for the year, with Baraga and Marquette counties seeing the biggest decline at 0.6 percent.

Iron County had the biggest increase at 0.2 percent.

Weaver described the U.P.’s non-seasonally adjusted October 2017 unemployment rate of 4.9 percent as “quite low” but still above the Michigan rate of 4.2 percent and the national rate of 3.9 percent.

Despite the region’s monthly jobless rate decline, the size of its labor force fell in October as employment moved below the seasonal peaks of the summer months, Weaver added.

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