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Posted on Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 12:26 p.m.

Ann Arbor area unemployment up in December, annual rate decreases for third consecutive year

By Ben Freed

Temporary end-of-semester layoffs in the education sector helped push the Ann Arbor area’s unemployment rate up from 4.3 to 5.1 percent according to a report from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and the Budget.


Ann Arbor's unemployment rate (blue columns) continued to decline in 2012 and is at its lowest since 2007.

From Michigan DTMB report

The department also released preliminary annual unemployment figures for the area. Ann Arbor’s annual rate decreased to 5.4 percent, down from a peak of 8.4 percent in 2009 and the lowest since a 4.8 percent rate in 2007.

Annual employment numbers attempt to give a smoother picture of local area employment by accounting for seasonal variation.

In December, Ann Arbor saw a decrease of 400 in the labor force, a measure of the number of people either employed or looking for a job. The current force of 183,300 is 2,100 larger than it was in December 2011.

The area lost 2,500 non-farm jobs in December, with the majority of those losses coming in the government and professional services sectors. The report, compiled by the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, said the government job losses were larger than typically seen in December but were balanced out by larger-than-average gains in November.

Washtenaw County continued to boast the lowest unemployment rate in the state. The next closest county was Clinton at 5.9 percent. Baraga County in the upper peninsula has the state’s highest unemployment rate at 18.3 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



Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 4:05 p.m.

National economy shrunk .1% last quarter. Most of the decline can be traced to cuts in defense spending. Looks like our more conservative friends are getting their wish, lower government spending. Now we see the results.


Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 4:11 a.m.

Ann Arbor is an oasis within the state of Michigan which continues to have 411,000 unemployed citizens. Governor Snyder and the Republican legislature has no plans for re-employment and is not providing significant funding for re-education and retraining. Michigan voters will have an opportunity to change the government next year which will provide the only chance for improved employment which will be accompanied by increase consumer spending and Michigan's economy.

Dog Guy

Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 9:44 p.m.

An official 5.1% unexployment must make the 18% of Ann Arborites who can't find a job feel quite special and elite.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 9:35 p.m.

In a state with about 9-10 million people, with a total labor force of (guessing here) 4-5 million, an area (Washtenaw Co.) with a labor force of 183,000 represents a pretty small percentage of the total. Michigan continues to struggle with the same issues that have dogged it for the past 30+ years... depopulation, limited opportunities for many of its remaining citizens, relatively high taxes and unemployment levels, and little economic growth. Nothing new here...

David Cahill

Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 8:37 p.m.

It should be noted (as I have before on similar articles) that the "Ann Arbor area" includes all of Washtenaw County. The unemployment rate for Ann Arbor City is always lower than that for the county as a whole, but it is not reported for several months after the report based on "areas" is released. A nice downward trend!

bill s

Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 5:39 p.m.

Thank you for the easy to read graph.