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Posted on Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 10:30 a.m.

Ann Arbor area jobless rate rises in January but regional employment higher than 2012

By Ben Freed

Seasonal retail layoffs led to a rise in unadjusted unemployment rates across Michigan in January. Both the public and private sector shed jobs in the Ann Arbor area, but each added a significant number of jobs in comparison to the previous year.


Jobs in the Ann Arbor area fell in January, but the unemployment rate only rose slightly due to a shrunken labor force.

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

According to a report from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget, Washtenaw County payroll jobs in Washtenaw County decreased by 4,200 in January primarily thanks to seasonal job losses in the retail and public education sectors.

“Government declines were the result of temporary reductions in support staff and student workers in state universities,” the labor market analysis said.

“Trade, transportation and utilities fell primarily due to a substantial drop of 1,200 jobs in the area’s retail sector, which is typical following the holiday shopping season.”

The area’s unemployment rate only rose by 0.1 percent, however, because the labor force in the region also significantly dropped.

Despite the steep drop-off from December to January, the county posted year-over-year job gains of 4,200 jobs. Professional and business services led the private sector gains while government sector health care and education hiring accounted for 2,100 new jobs.

Financial activities and private sector educational and health services held relatively steady month-to-month and both posted strong yearly gains. The financial activities sector, which includes real estate rental and leasing jobs as well as finance and insurance, gained 600 jobs since 2012, an 8.7 percent rise.

Washtenaw County again posted the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 5.3 percent, a full percent lower than Kent County. Mackinac County again had the highest unemployment in the state at 31.1 percent. The state’s non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 9.7 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


Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 12:13 p.m.

Year-over-year job gains of 4,200 jobs is a huge number for our county. What great news! This explains why the population of the county is rising so rapidly and why there is a shortage of homes for sale in the county, as people move in to the county to fill those jobs.


Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 4:13 p.m.

Good going Snyder! You've been an utter failure at being Governor!


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 3:23 p.m.

Actually, Snyder has presided over 2 years of growth in payroll employment. The current year will make him 3 for 3 years. (see Table 3) By contrast, Granholm went 0 for 8 years.


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 12:54 a.m.

Kinda like your President.


Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 2:46 p.m.

Ouch! Must be that pesky "talent gap" the governor has been publicizing..........