Ann Arbor area shows modest job growth in March and big gains from 2012
Washtenaw County economic outlook
The unemployment rate only takes into account those who have or are looking for jobs. Lansing and other metro areas in the state saw improved unemployment rates thanks to lower labor force numbers, but Ann Arbor’s increase in both the number of jobs and people looking for them are indicators of continued economic recovery.
An economic forecast by University of Michigan economists George Fulton and Donald Grimes predicted that Washtenaw County is quickly approaching peak job numbers from 2002 and that soon more people will be employed in the county than ever before.
March’s job gains were spread out among a number of sectors, and were primarily seasonal in nature. Even though temperatures refused to rise, spring hiring in the construction and leisure and hospitality sectors helped boost the area’s numbers. Construction jobs are expected to make major gains over the summer as the residential housing market continues to bounce back.
Despite a slight dip in March, the professional and business services sector has remained a major driver for the local economy, growing 8.9 percent over the past year and adding 2,200 jobs.
Washtenaw County retained its position once again as Michigan’s “least unemployed” county by a solid margin, with Barry and Kent Counties coming in second with 5.9 percent unemployment. Michigan’s unemployment rate dropped to 8.8 percent in March from 9.2 percent in February as the state added 22,000 jobs.
The country also posted strong job growth and the national non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell half a percent to 7.6 percent.
Ben Freed covers business for AnnArbor.com. You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Reach out to Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2