By LINDA LOBECK
MARQUETTE - The unemployment rate in the U.P. increased by 1.9 percent in December to 9.4 percent, well over the November rate of 7.5, according to figures released by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget.
"All 15 Upper Peninsula Counties registered higher jobless rates during December with monthly increases ranging from .7 to 6 percent. And for the second consecutive month, Mackinac County recorded the largest rate increase - up by 6 percent. This rate gain reflected ongoing typical reductions of seasonal tourism-related jobs," noted Bruce Weaver, analyst in Detroit.
Above average jobless rate hikes were also reported in Baraga and Schoolcraft counties - up by 4.5 and 2.8 percent, respectively.
Dickinson County's jobless rate increased by 1.5 percent from 6 percent in November up to 7.5 percent in December. The unemployment rate a year ago was at 8 percent.
Dickinson County's civilian labor force totaled 13,275 for the month with 12,275 employed and 1,000 unemployed.
In Iron County, the unemployment rate jumped 1.8 percent in December to 9.3 percent, up from 7.5 percent in November. The rate a year ago was 9.3 percent.
Iron County' civilian labor force totaled 5,350 with 4,850 employed and 500 unemployed during December.
The lowest jobless rate in the U.P. in December was in Menominee County, which recorded a low of 6.9 percent. Dickinson County's rate of 7.5 and Marquette County's jobless rate of 7.3 percent for the month were next in line.
The highest jobless rates in December were recorded in Baraga County at 18.3 percent and Mackinac County at 17.9 percent. Other U.P. counties with high jobless rates during the month were Keweenaw County at 15.9 percent and Ontonagon County at 13.4 percent.
"Job cuts in December in the U.P. counties are seasonal and are concentrated primarily in construction," Weaver said.
Compared to a year ago, the U.P. jobless rate is just .3 percent lower than December 2011 rate of 9.7 percent.
"Over the year, jobless rates edged down in 11 U.P. counties. Many over-the-year rate reductions were modest, although Gogebic and Mackinac counties had rate drops of about a full percentage point. The rate in Iron County was unchanged over the year while Luce, Baraga and Menominee counties experienced minor rate gains since December 2011," Weaver noted.
The U.P. jobless rate in December of 9.4 percent was higher than the state rate of 8.9 percent and the national rate of 7.6 percent.
Menominee 6.9 percent
Marquette 7.3 percent
Dickinson 7.5 percent
Houghton 8.3 percent
Gogebic 9.2 percent
Iron 9.3 percent
Delta 9.5 percent
Chippewa 11.1 percent
Alger 11.3 percent
Luce 12.4 percent
Schoolcraft 12.7 percent
Ontonagon 13.4 percent
Keweenaw 15.9 percent
Mackinac 17.9 percent
Baraga 18.3 percent
U.P. 9.4 percent
Michigan 8.9 percent
U.S. 7.6 percent
Linda Lobeck's e-mail address is email@example.com.