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Posted on Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 3:59 p.m.

Ann Arbor area adds thousands of jobs in February but unemployment rate remains steady

By Ben Freed

The Ann Arbor area added approximately 3,000 jobs in the month of February. Most of the gains were the result of seasonal hiring at public universities in the region, according to a report from the state's Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives.


AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

Despite the hirings, the unemployment rate remained at 5.3 percent as the labor force also grew at about the same rate. Many of the new jobs are support staff and student workers at University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University who do not stay in the labor force when their positions disappear in between school terms.

The temporary status of employees at the area’s universities create large dips and rises in the number of jobs in the area as school goes into and out of session, but does not generally effect the unemployment rate.

Year over year, the area’s job total is up 6,300, in large part thanks to gains in the professional and business services sector, which added 2,300 jobs since February 2012. The sector led a strong month of job growth for several private sector industries, posting a 4.3 percent increase in jobs in February alone.

In fact, nine of the 10 sectors measured by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and the Budget added jobs in the past year. The only sector to see a decrease in the Ann Arbor area was leisure and hospitality.

Once again, Washtenaw County’s jobless rate led the state by a wide margin. Kent and Barry counties came in a full percentage point behind Washtenaw with 6.3 percent rates. Mackinac County continues to lag well behind with an unemployment rate of 24.6 percent.

Since February 2012, Michigan’s seasonally unadjusted rate has dropped from 9.8 percent to 9.3 percent. The Ann Arbor area lowered its rate by a similar margin, dropping from 5.7 to its current rate of 5.3 percent.

Ben Freed covers business for You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Reach out to Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2



Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 2:58 p.m.

There was a question here, in my original statement. And it still goes unanswered.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 2:51 p.m.

"...but does not generally effect the unemployment rate." Ben, you want "affect" here. The verb, not the noun. Does not generally affect... (i.e. influence). Please correct it. Thanks.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 2:55 a.m.

Where are those 1,000 jobs that Google was going to add to the area? 150 new jobs since Google came to town, split between Birmingham and AA, and no exact # for AA. This is ludicrous.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 11:30 a.m.

Promises, promises. They took their lead from our politicians in DC.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 2:22 a.m.

The numbers won't look good next month. UofM's health system has just stopped using a substantial number of Manpower employee's they were using to fill positions across the system. All of these employees will now be looking for employment and filing for unemployment. The reason given was that UofM did have the money to keep using them.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 2:09 p.m.

Put on the red shirts and march....................


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 1:28 p.m.

Did you mean "did not" have the money to keep using them? New building is putting the UM hospitals in the red, and next up is the nursing school.

Top Cat

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 12:01 a.m.

How long has Obama been President ? This is the worst economic recovery since 1930's accompanied by the same misguided economic policies. A coincidence of course.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

JRW and johnnya2 - what flavor of Koolaid do you prefer? I like the cherry myself..................


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 1:52 p.m.

How about the jobs building bridges which were given to the Chinese instead of American companies and workers? I suppose you're going to save GW gave them away.

Steve Bean

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 1:51 p.m.

Actually, it is coincidence. This is a Grand Supercycle bear market that has gone sideways since 2000 when the third wave of the Grand Supercycle topped. The market topped again last Tuesday and is expected, per Elliott wave analysis, to bottom somewhere below 1000 for the Dow and 100 for the S&P. Obama is the Herbert Hoover of this century. He just happens to be in the chair when the bottom's going to drop out from under the entire global economy. Blaming him is pointless. Likewise blaming GW Bush. The wars, of course, yes, they're responsible for those, but not the economy. If anything, blame them for pretending that they DO have any control over the economy. Then blame Greenspan and Bernanke for the same deceits while you're at it.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 12:56 p.m.

@ Goober and Top Cat, More lies. The stimulus did SAVE jobs and brought a lot of jobs to the country. To say it is the worst recovery since the 30's, well the situation he inherited was the worst since the 30's. The other part that people forget about the stimulus was the amount that was tax cuts for the middle class. If you say the stimulus did not work enough, it is because tax cuts DO NOT create economic growth. Rich people hoard their money with tax cuts. The real problem is the stimulus was not big enough for the size of the problem. It was like trying to fill the Grand Canyon with a back hoe.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 11:30 a.m.

I agree. All Obama wants to do is print and spend more money. The first stimulus package was supposed to be for 'shovel ready' projects, where good paying jobs would emerge. Instead. most of the money was wasted and not many jobs created at all. Now, we are stuck with a dying economy, dying employment machine and politicians doing nothing to lead us in the right direction.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 2:58 a.m.

If the Repubs would stop blocking every single measure the president has tried since taking office, we would be in a much better position now. Obama inherited a terrible economy, thanks to 8 years of G.W. The Repubs want to tank the economy at all costs to make Obama look bad, and take everyone down with them in the process. Obama is not to blame for the current situation.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 8:19 p.m.

Where are the jobs Snyder promised when he took money from public schools and handed it over to "job creators" in the private sector?

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 9:51 p.m.

apologies for the spelling above but I posted from a phone. Something i rarely do. But to add to my thought the notion that my original point has "no basis in fact" is absurd. It implies we aren't living longer and modern medicine hasn't added any bells and whistles since the days of leeches and iron lungs. The fact that we are a for profit system is a part of why we spend more than other countries per capita but it doesn't explain the continual rise because the profit margins are constant or going down. A third factor for why our costs are ever rising besides longevity and medical advances is that we test more than many countries in part due to litigation. We have more lawyers and more law suites than any other other country. All this helps my point that Obamacare will not be much more than a blip on the screen of ever rising costs.

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 3:24 p.m.

JohnnyA2, my comments are based in fact and don't contridict your points either. Because health care costs are going up in other countries as well because of the points I made. Ceartainly profit is part of the equation but its not the singular exolaination you imply. Otherwise other countries wouldn't see costs escalating too.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 2:11 p.m.

We have a balanced budget, right to work, and one of the fastest growing states. What planet are you living on..................


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 12:51 p.m.

@ Craig, Great analysis if it had any factual basis. The US does not have the longest life expectancy by a long shot, yet DOES have the highest cost of health care. The problem with the health care INDUSTRY is it is profit based and profits are not OUTCOME based. Of course, the easiest answer is to look north. Canada has longer life expectancy and lower cost per capita than the US.

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 11:58 a.m.

Goober, I suggest Obamacare like it it or hate it will barely be a blip on the nonstop rise in the cost of medical care. Health care coverage goes up because the cost of health care goers up. Health care costs go up because we live longer and the state of modern medicine is ever changing. I suggest anyone who wants the truth should study life expectancy numbers through the decades since 1900 and study the state of modern medicine at the start of each decade since 1900. That will begin to give you a real picture of why medicine costs more an more each year.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 11:27 a.m.

Yes - the blame for our horrible economy starts at the top. But, many in this town will never admit it. Just wait until the full effect of Obamacare is felt. If we think that employment stinks, just wait until we see what we have to pay for health care coverage.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 1:39 a.m.

Where are the jobs Obama promised? Most jobs that are being filled are by over qualified applicants, college grads, long time employees with substantial qualifications and making less, along with all the 1000's that have ompletely stopped looking and have now gone on some type of SS disability. Obama has been in office twice as long a tricky Ricky but at least he has taken control of the spending.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 10:13 p.m.

They're here. In the form of fast food, retail, and other minimum wage paying jobs. He never said that the jobs would pay a living wage or have any benefits, he just said that there would be jobs. All the while, the job "creators" just pocket more and more money.