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Posted on Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 5 p.m.

Ann Arbor area unemployment rate continues to fall as labor force grows

By Ben Freed

The Ann Arbor area unemployment rate fell for the third straight month to 4.9 percent in October. The area’s jobless rate was significantly lower than both the national 7.5 percent unemployment rate and Michigan’s 8.3 percent rate.


AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

Job growth in the region was primarily seasonal, with a loss in construction and hospitality jobs offset by an increase in the number of private sector healthcare and educational service industry positions. Retail jobs held steady in the region, with seasonal gains due to holiday shopping expected to kick in during November and December.

Strong Black Friday retail showings in the county as well as the job fairs held at malls and elsewhere indicate that the seasonal retail gains should arrive on time.

The region showed gains in the number of professional and business services jobs and manufacturing held steady from the previous month. The biggest growth was in government jobs, with the primary drivers being the education and public health sectors.

Washtenaw County continued to be one of the leaders in the state, with the second lowest unemployment numbers after Mackinac County’s 4.3 percent rate. Overall, there were 2,300 more nonfarm jobs in the area than in the same period in 2011.

The area’s civilian labor force, the number of people the government considers either employed or actively seeking employment, grew by 2,300 from the previous month to 184,700. That was 3,700 more than the previous year.

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


Ben Freed

Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 4:24 p.m.

Just for clarification, these statistics come from the ???????Michigan Department of Technology Management and Budget Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. Ben


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 2:56 p.m.

Where are these numbers coming from? There is no way Mackinac County has a lower unemployment rate than Washtenaw.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 3:08 p.m.

It might if people searching for jobs goes up in Ann Arbor (as the article stated) and the number looking for jobs in Mackinac County is going down. While I haven't looked for any stats, my impression from my last visit to the Mackinac area is that the population there is shrinking.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 1:12 p.m.

The reason A2 has a low unemployment is because you can't live in A2 on public assistance. It has nothing to do with A2 being run by Liberals, and more to do with the cost of living.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 2:29 p.m.

Uh, sorry, the reason there is low unemployment is that there are jobs. There are thousands of people living in the A2 area that are on public assistance.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 2:16 p.m.

right on point!


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 12:32 p.m.

Ricebrnr--- notice the article is talking about unemployment in the Ann Arbor area not Detroit area.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 1:48 p.m.

Yep, the same way the article is about Ann Arbor, not Seattle, Madison, or the Twin Cities. So, really, I think your beef was with robotmonster. Why didn't you direct this at him? (rhetorical question, no need to answer).


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 8:06 a.m.

Wonder did anyone ask the newly employed if they're working P/T and for a lessen wage then they previously earned. How much you want to bet the answer primarily YES to both?

r treat

Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 1:31 a.m.

Where's the most liberal governor in your equation?


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 12:42 a.m.

There is a still a huge lack of jobs....too many of us were irreparably hurt by the recession, and those few jobs available pay a far cry from livable wages we used to earn. After going back to school to start a new career at 64, the field I chose is now laying off. It seems like behind the 8 ball has become too familiar. My resilience has evaporated.

Dawn Singleton

Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 11:41 p.m.

Except the article forgot to mention what happens after the holidays. Many of these jobs are only for the holidays, once the new year rolls around many of these jobs will no longer exist. What happens to the employment rate then?


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 12:28 a.m.

I think you missed the fact that the holiday jobs are not included in the report that the article cited (they show up next month).


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 10:40 p.m.

Ann Arbor- the most liberal place in the state has the lowest unemployment rate? Just like Seattle, Madison, The Twin Cities- liberalism is good for the economy. Meanwhile, where Rethugs rule, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas,- well, abject poverty. Good work Ann Arbor.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 2:52 a.m.

^^^^^The same way as Flint and Benton Harbor


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 11:16 p.m.

And Detroit fits into this how?