Washtenaw County's unemployment rate hits 10 percent, its highest point in 13 months
Washtenaw County's unemployment rate rose to 10.0 percent in July, reflecting the worst employment picture in the Ann Arbor region in 13 months.
The jobless rate rose from 9.3 percent in June to 10 percent in July, according to statistics released today by the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth.
It marks the highest unemployment rate for the county since it stood at 10 percent in June 2009, according to a state database.
"Cutbacks in local government education fueled many of these changes," DELEG reported.
Mark Reffitt, a regional economic analyst for DELEG, cautioned that the unemployment statistics are seasonally unadjusted and said concern is premature.
"If we continue to see some kind of trend like that for the next few months or something, then I would say it’s signaling something that’s real," Reffitt said.
An economic outlook study conducted by the University of Michigan in March projected that Washtenaw County's unemployment rate would average 9.5 percent in 2010.
Washtenaw County's unemployment rate is the fifth best among Michigan's 83 counties. Mackinac (6.0), Cheboygan (9.1), Leelanau (9.7) and Clinton (9.9) are better. Wayne County's rate is 16.5 percent, and Oakland County's rate is 13.5 percent. Unemployment worsened in 79 counties.
Washtenaw's labor force dipped by 200 workers from June to July to
182,600, and the number of Washtenaw County residents with a job
dropped by 1,400 to 164,300.
The local government sector, which includes financially strapped public school districts, lost 2,300 jobs as schools "continued summer staff reductions for the end of the school year," DELEG said.
The professional and business services sector lost 700 jobs from June to July, but that sector gained 1,500 from July 2009 to July 2010.
Washtenaw County has 400 fewer jobs than it did at this point a year ago.
Employment in the manufacturing sector displayed surprising resiliency in July. Manufacturers lost just 200 jobs from June to July.
"But (manufacturing) typically drops by 10 times that amount in July due to plant retooling in area auto manufacturing facilities," DELEG said. "Retooling shutdowns did not take place this year."