“Employer of the Day” Gets ResultsAugust 14, 2016
Michigan Works! Southeast Public Meeting Notice October 2016September 29, 2016
Seasonal job cuts were recorded in December
throughout Southwest Michigan, in sectors
such as construction, education (private and
public), leisure and hospitality, and business
services. However, seasonal workers also
withdrew from the labor force, following the
end of the holiday shopping season, and the
beginning of winter break for schools. As a
result, unemployment rates edged down
marginally throughout the region
Regional Jobless Rates Remained Stable in
December and Continued to Decline
Noticeably Over the Year
Like last month, all four Southwest Michigan
Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) recorded
jobless rates that were below the statewide
unadjusted unemployment rate of 4.5 percent
in December. The Kalamazoo-Portage MSA had
th lowest jobless rate in December among
the 14 Michigan metro areas. Battle Creek
th with a rate of 3.9 percent. Jackson
and Niles-Benton Harbor showed matching
unemployment rates of 4.0 percent and ranked
8th (Figure 1).
Jobless rates moderately declined in Southwest
Michigan metro counties by an average of two
tenths of a percentage point. Jobless rates in all
Southwest Michigan non-metro labor markets
edged down between a tenth of a percent in
Lenawee and four tenths in St. Joseph, or
remained flat (Allegan and Cass) (Tables 1 and
2). Jobless rates in the two local Prosperity
Regions 8 and 9 declined as well each by two
tenths of a percentage point (Table 3).
Van Buren County’s unemployment rate of 5.0 percent in December was higher than the nation’s
unadjusted rate of 4.8 percent. Jobless rates for all other Southwest Michigan labor markets were
lower than the unadjusted statewide rate of 4.5 percent. (Figure 2).
December jobless rates in both metro and non-metro counties of Southwest Michigan were below
2014 levels by 1.1 and 1.2 percentage points, respectively.
Labor Force Levels Were Down Mostly over the Month but Were Up over the Year
In December, civilian labor force inched up in Van Buren (+175) and was flat in Kalamazoo County.
Workforce levels edged down in the remaining three local metro counties, ranging from -100 in
Calhoun and Jackson to -200 in Berrien County. Over the year, labor force levels rose in local metro
counties: +500 in Jackson, +725 in Van Buren, +900 in Calhoun, +1,700 in Berrien, and +3,775 in
Kalamazoo (Table 1).
December labor force levels inched down slightly in all non-metro labor markets of Southwest
Michigan, except in St. Joseph County. Over the year, workforce additions ranged from +50 in Cass to
+525 in St. Joseph County. Allegan County’s labor force rose substantially since December 2014 (+1,475
or +2.5 percent) (Table 2).
Household Employment Was Stable in December and Improved Considerably Over the Year
In December, employment by place of
residence inched up in 3 of 4 Southwest
Michigan metro areas: +100 each in Battle
Creek and Jackson, and +500 in KalamazooPortage.
Household employment edged down
100 in Niles-Benton Harbor.
Since December 2014, all four local metro
areas recorded substantial employment gains:
+1,300 in Jackson, +1,500 in Battle Creek,
+2,400 in Niles-Benton Harbor, and +6,200 in
In non-metro areas, jobs remained flat in
December in Hillsdale and Lenawee, edged up
in St. Joseph (+175) while inching down in
Branch (-25), Cass (-50), and Allegan (-175).
Over the year, employment levels advanced by
about 300 each in Branch, Cass, and Hillsdale
counties, by 850 in St. Joseph, and by a little
over 1,000 in Lenawee. Employment in Allegan
County rose substantially year to year in
December (+2,050 or +3.6 percent).
December 2015 jobless rates
recorded significant declines
since 2006: Jackson (-3.4
percentage points), NilesBenton
Harbor (-3.1), Battle
Creek (-2.8), and Kalamazoo (-
Since the peak levels attained
during the Great Recession in
2008-2009, unemployment rates
in local metropolitan areas have fallen considerably, by an average of -8.6 percentage points.
Despite the current low unemployment rates in local metro areas, the number of individuals active in
the labor market (employed or unemployed) remain below 2007 pre-recessionary levels by an average
of 6,400 within the four local metro areas (with 3,500 fewer individuals employed and 2,900 fewer
persons looking for jobs).
Figure 4: Local Metro Area December Unemployment Rates Since 2006
Nonfarm Payroll Jobs Were Stable in December in Southwest Michigan Metro Areas
In December, all four Southwest Michigan metropolitan statistical areas displayed typical seasonal
payroll job cuts in construction, education (private and public), leisure and hospitality, and business
Battle Creek Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)
Nonfarm payroll employment in the Battle Creek MSA (Calhoun County) fell by 300 in December,
mainly due to a seasonal job cut of 300 in construction and of 100 each in government, leisure and
hospitality, and professional and business services. Employment in trade, transportation,
warehousing, and utilities inched up 100 over the month. Total nonfarm payroll jobs were estimated at
59,800 in December.
Over the year in December, employment continued to improve in most sectors, with the exception of
trade, transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-200), construction (flat), and financial activities (flat).
Private education and health services created 300 new positions year to year, and employment in
manufacturing and in professional and business services each rose by 200. A 100-job addition each was
registered in government, leisure and hospitality, and other private services (nonprofits, personal care,
etc.). Total payroll jobs in Battle Creek inched up by 700 (or +1.2 percent) from December 2014 to
December 2015. Nonfarm payroll employment in the Battle Creek area has also surpassed the previous
10-year peak of 58,900, attained in December 2006, by 900.
Jackson Metropolitan Statistical Area (Jackson County)
Nonfarm payroll employment in the Jackson MSA (Jackson County) edged down 200 in December to a
total of 56,500. Seasonal job cuts were recorded in private education and health services (-300),
government (-200), construction (-100), and professional and business services (-100). Trade,
transportation, warehousing, and utilities added 200 new positions, and a 100-job improvement each
was tallied in information and in leisure and hospitality.
Since December 2014, trade, transportation, utilities added 300 jobs, and the manufacturing sector
advanced by 200. Employment in most other sectors was little changed. Total nonfarm payroll jobs in
Jackson inched up 400 since December 2014, but were still 3,400 below the 10-year peak level of
59,900 reached in 2006.
Kalamazoo-Portage MSA (Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties)
Nonfarm payroll employment in the Kalamazoo-Portage MSA (Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties)
was virtually flat in December, inching down by 200 to a total of 146,200. Private and public education
(state and local) together cut 400 positions seasonally. A 200-job reduction each was also recorded in
construction and professional and business services. However, the sectors of retail trade and of leisure
and hospitality services each added 200 positions in December, and employment in other private
services rose by 100.
Since December 2014, employment in all sectors either improved or remained flat. Leisure and
hospitality registered 1,700 new positions over the year, as did retail trade (+600), construction (+500),
manufacturing, health care and social assistance, and government (+400 each). Total payroll jobs in
Kalamazoo were 4,700 or +3.3 percent above December 2014 levels, but remained 1,500 below the
highest level attained over the past 10 years in 2006.
Payroll nonfarm employment in the Niles-Benton Harbor MSA (Berrien County) inched down 300 in
December to a total of 62,400. A 100-job cut each was recorded in construction, professional and
business services, private education and health services, leisure and hospitality, and government.
However, employment in the sectors of trade, transportation, warehousing, and utilities and of other
private services rose by 100 each.
Since December 2014, employment in most sectors improved or remained unchanged, with the
exception of trade, transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-200). Considerable job additions were
recorded year to year in leisure and hospitality (+1,000), manufacturing (+400), government (+300),
professional and business services (+200), and private education and health services (+200). Total
nonfarm employment in the Niles-Benton Harbor MSA was 1,900, or 3.1 percent, above December
2014 levels. However, current December payroll jobs were still 3,500 below pre-recessionary 2007