Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

August 2, 2013

Jobless rate near 10 percent

TRAVERSE CITY — Three counties in the Grand Traverse region are showing monthly unemployment statistics near or at 10 percent, according to the latest numbers from the state of Michigan.

Antrim County had the highest unemployment rate in the region at 10 percent for the month of June 2013. That figure has remained steady in recent months and is considered an improvement from years prior.

In 2011, for example, Antrim’s monthly unemployment statistics spiked as high as 15 percent.

Sara Christensen, an economic development specialist for the Northern Lakes Economic Alliance, said there are some positive developments in Antrim regarding job growth.

“We’ve seen some pretty specific investment in manufacturing facilities, including Armor Express in Central Lake,” said Christensen. “They’ve done a large amount of investment in the last couple of years and hired over 50 new employees. Short’s Brewing Company has continued to invest and hire. Manufacturers who are confident enough and in position to do some investment are helping us to rebound.”

Kalkaska lists a monthly unemployment rate of 9.3 percent for June, while Benzie County was at 9.2 percent. Those numbers have remained steady through this summer.

Benzie County Chamber of Commerce President Mary Carroll said she’s receiving a lot of positive feedback about the strength of the summer tourism season, noting some employers are having trouble filling seasonable jobs this year

“I know there are a lot of jobs to be had, some of them seasonable,” Carroll said. “There just aren’t as many people willing to either take those jobs or work the schedule they require. It’s not that the jobs aren’t here to be had.”

The lowest unemployment rate in the region is owned by Leelanau County, at 6.8 percent. Grand Traverse County’s unemployment rate came in at 7.5 percent for June.

Jim Rhein of the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget said workforce levels overall are up for much of the state, which is a positive trend.

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