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Posted on Thu, Jan 3, 2013 : 4:28 p.m.

Ann Arbor unemployment numbers lead the state and continue to shrink

By Ben Freed

The jobless rate in the Ann Arbor metropolitan area dropped to 4.3 percent in November, down 0.3 percent from October and 1.1 percent from November 2011, according to the Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and the Budget.

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The monthly report from the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives said seasonal jobseekers leaving the labor market actually led to a decrease in both the labor force and employment levels in November, but the labor force dropped more steeply leading to a net decrease in unemployment rate.

While both levels are down from October, that decrease is seasonally expected and both numbers are up from November of 2011.

The retail trade grew by 800 jobs in November as stores hired additional sales staff for anticipated seasonal increases in holiday business. That spike outpaced the standard 500 jobs the region typically gains annually during the month.

Public sector jobs also rose as education and health care-related growth continued to spur the region’s economy.

Goods producing jobs in construction fell slightly due to winter-related business slow-downs, but manufacturing held steady in the region.

Washtenaw County has the lowest unemployment rate Michigan by nearly half a percent, and is significantly below the statewide 7.4 percent unemployment rate.

Ann Arbor has added 4,200 jobs since November 2011, with the vast majority of those gains coming in public sector jobs and the “professional and business services” category.

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



Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 3:28 a.m.

Looking for system and software engineers at Arbor Networks. If you look, lots of private companies have job postings as well. There are not a lot of manufacturing jobs in the region though, then again, this area is not known for manufacturing.


Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 3:45 p.m.

Unfortunately, many job vacancies require skills and education which most of those remaining unemployed do not have. Education and re-training as well as more stimulus dollars are the only options that will provide new employment with sizable numbers.


Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 1:15 a.m.

The headline "Ann Arbor unemployment numbers lead the state....." leads one to believe that Ann Arbor has the highest unemployment rate in the state.. More accurately "Ann Arbor EMPLOYMENT rate leads the state, and continue to rise" Alternatively " Ann Arbor jobless rate lowest in state, continues to drop"


Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 12:49 a.m.

This is NOT the way you want to grow an economy! :) Ann Arbor has added 4,200 jobs since November 2011, with the vast majority of those gains coming in public sector jobs.................. You DON'T grow an economy by growing government. What a waste of taxpayer money........


Sun, Jan 6, 2013 : 4:36 a.m.

How much of the 'growth' is really just a partial replacement for the job losses of the previous few years? I am sure there are many counties that are still suffering from no job growth - or perhaps still job losses - that would be more than happy to have this type of problem. And personally, I think that having my streets plowed in the winter is NOT a waste of the taxpayer's money.


Sat, Jan 5, 2013 : 12:17 a.m.

If you think that public employment grows an economy you are delusional. Public employment requires tax dollars to support it. that means there must be private businesses that generate "taxable profits". the money you spend as a public employee does not cover your salary, benefits, and pension. are we that economically ignorant of basic financial premises? If we all worked for the government where would the money come from when, as an employee, you pay 15 to 30% in income taxes...that leaves 70% or more unsustainable debt just to pay you!


Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 6:39 p.m.

Add a public sector'd see a benefit from a new insurance policy (HAP benefits) a new 401k policy (AIG benefits), they eat lunch out (restaurants benefit), they take public transportation to work (Tarta benefits)....they have more disposable income and spend more......and the cycle continues. There are too many public sector jobs to make such a sweeping statement. A job is a job is a job is a job. We all benefit.


Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 1:35 a.m.

Who told you that lie? A person who is working public sector is JUST as valuable as one who is working private sector. I would ask if you think a person who is in the military is not as valuable as somebody who works for Google or Barracua networks? Only in the right wing bubble does anybody think that.


Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 12:17 a.m.

Expect December/January unemployment to go up...I tried to call the unemployment line yesterday and couldn't get through at all..didn't even bother trying today..


Thu, Jan 3, 2013 : 11:48 p.m.

This is a perfect reason why we need a new library.

Dog Guy

Thu, Jan 3, 2013 : 11:02 p.m.

Those public sector jobs have lowered the unemployment rate in Ann Arbor, assisted by tax foreclosures removing unemployed and other undesirables from


Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 3:41 p.m.

I agree, Dog Guy, that unemployment is undesirable but NOT those suffering unemployment who would be working if jobs were available. If you remain employed or are retired then feel fortunate with your good luck. Get rid of the "better-than-thou" attitude which is unbecoming for you.