HOUGHTON?- The Upper Peninsula's unemployment rate fell from 13.7 to 12.1 percent in the month of May, mostly due to seasonal hiring.
The Western U.P., however, has the highest unemployment rate at 14.5 percent, mostly due to the continuing high numbers of Baraga County - at 24.7 percent, the highest in Michigan - and Ontonagon County - at 18.2 percent. Both counties, however, experienced a 2.1 and 2.8 percent drop in unemployment, respectively.
During May, all 15 U.P. counties experienced a reduction in their jobless rates. Houghton County had the smallest drop at 0.2 percent, while as expected, Mackinac County saw the biggest drop from 21.4 to 7.8 percent.
Houghton County's unemployment rate is at 12 percent, largely unchanged from the May 2009 number of 11.5 percent. Baraga County actually improved over the last year, improving from 24.9 to 24.7 percent.
Keweenaw County dropped from 17.1 to 14.9 percent from April to May, but remains 0.8 percent higher than in May 2009. Ontonagon County, at 18.2 percent, is 1 percent higher than it was in May 2009.
The lowest unemployment rates in the U.P. outside of Mackinac County lie in Marquette County at 10.1 percent and Menominee County at 10.7 percent. The Upper Peninsula's 12.1 percent rate remains below Michigan's rate of 13.5 percent, but is higher than the national rate of 9.1 percent.