By LINDA LOBECK
MARQUETTE - The unemployment rate in the Upper Peninsula increased in December - up to 9.5 percent over the November rate of 9 percent, according to figures released by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget.
"During December, jobless rates advanced seasonally in all but three of the Upper Peninsula's 15 counties with monthly rate gains ranging from 0.2 to 3.6 percent," said Bruce Weaver, analyst in Detroit.
And for the second consecutive month, Mackinac County reported the largest rate hike - increasing by 3.6 percent. "This gain reflected ongoing typical reductions of seasonal tourism-related jobs," he added.
Above average unemployment rate advances were also registered by Baraga County, up by 1.1 percent and Chippewa and Schoolcraft counties, both up by .8 percent.
In Dickinson County, there was a slight increase in the jobless rate to 7.4 percent, up from 7.2 percent in November. The rate a year ago was at 7.6 percent.
Dickinson County's civilian labor force in December totaled 13,075 with 12,125 employed and 975 unemployed.
Iron County's jobless rate jumped to 10.2 percent in December, from 9.5 percent in November. The rate a year ago was at 9.3 percent.
The civilian labor force in December in Iron County totaled 5,325 with 4,775 employed and 550 unemployed.
"During December, the lowest jobless rate in the Upper Peninsula was recorded by Menominee County at 6.3 percent, followed by Dickinson and Marquette counties at 7.4 and 7.5 percent, respectively," Weaver said.
Mackinac County had the highest jobless rate in the state during December - at 19.4 percent. Weaver added that above average rates were also recorded in Baraga County at 16.4 percent, Keweenaw County at 15.9 percent and Ontonagon County at 13 percent.
"Job cuts in December in the Upper Peninsula counties happen for seasonal reasons and are usually concentrated in construction and in tourism related establishments such as hotels and restaurants," Weaver said.
Annual averages show that the regional unemployment rate was fairly stable in 2013. The U.P. unemployment rate in 2013 was 9.3 percent, slightly higher than the 2012 annual rate of 9.2 percent.
"During 2013, jobless rates in 10 of the 15 U.P. counties recorded an increase, with the most notable gains reported in Keweenaw County, up one percent and Schoolcraft County, up .9 percent. The U.P. county reporting the highest jobless rate reductions during 2013 was Menominee County, which was down .6 percent.
The U.P.'s December unemployment rate of 9.5 percent was well above the state rate of 7.7 percent and the national rate of 6.5 percent.
Menominee 6.2 percent
Dickinson 7.4 percent
Marquette 7.5 percent
Houghton 8.4 percent
Gogebic 9.3 percent
Delta 9.6 percent
Iron 10.2 percent
Luce 11.3 percent
Alger 11.8 percent
Chippewa 11.9 percent
Ontonagon 13 percent
Schoolcraft 13.6 percent
Keweenaw 15.9 percent
Baraga 16.4 percent
Mackinac 19.4 percent
U.P. rate 9.5 percent
Michigan 7.7 percent
U.S. rate 6.5 percent