By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium
Unemployment rates in Southwest Michigan remained flat through June, but they continued to decrease in comparison to numbers during the same time last year.
The state’s Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives reported that the construction, leisure and hospitality job sectors continued to show seasonal employment gains as the summer months continue.
However, these job additions were offset by seasonal education-related job cuts, as support staff began to be placed on a temporary layoff for the summer. This left unemployment rates throughout the region virtually unchanged from May.
Allegan, Berrien and Cass counties finished with a jobless rate lower than the Michigan unadjusted rate of 5.8 percent. Only Van Buren County finished with a higher jobless rate than Michigan at 6.3 percent.
The changes in unemployment by each county had little to no change.
Allegan County’s unemployment rate dropped from 4.4 percent to 4.3 percent. Berrien County decreased its jobless rate from 5.6 percent to 5.5 percent. Cass County increased from 5.2 percent in May to 5.4 percent in June.
Van Buren County is still the highest in the region, but it managed to lower its unemployment rate from 6.5 percent to 6.3 percent.
The state of Michigan finished with a 5.8 percent unemployment rate in April, while the U.S. had 5.5 percent.
In June, nonfarm payroll jobs in Berrien County rose by 900. Total nonfarm payroll jobs in Berrien County were estimated to be 63,100 in June.
Since June of last year, employment in the leisure and hospitality job sector has increased by 600, while manufacturing has added another 400 new positions. In contrast, employment in the trade, transportation, warehousing and utilities sectors decreased by about 400 since June 2014.
(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on July 29, 2015)