october 30th

LANSING — With fewer people looking for work unemployment rates dropped for September in south central Michigan.

County jobless rates were down over last month and last year in 79 of Michigan’s 83 counties in September, with a median reduction of 0.3 percentage points.

Branch County dropped to 3.3 percent down from 3.4 percent in August and 4.5 percent in 2017; St.

Joseph County fell to 3.2 percent from 3.5 percent in August and 4.2 percent from last year and Hillsdale County went down to 3.3 percent from 3.5 percent in August and 4.8 percent a year ago.

Only Hillsdale saw an increase in workers, up 25 jobs to 20,025 from the 20,000 employed in both August 2018 and September 2017. They were 700 reported unemployed down from 725 in August.

The workforce also dropped to 20,700 from 20,725.

In Branch County the labor force dropped from 19,000 in September 2017 to 18,800 in August and 18,750 last month. The unemployed was steady at 625 while employed dropped 25 to 18,125 from August.

In St. Joseph County the number of unemployed went from 1,025 in August to 925 in September down from 1,200 in September 2017.

Employment also dropped from a high 28,025 in August to 27,525 in September with the workforce also down to 24,450 from 29,025 in August. In figures released Friday, according to the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget, workforce levels moved down in the majority of regions while total employment trends were mixed across the state.

“Labor market trends exhibited typical movement for September,” said Jason Palmer, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information & Strategic Initiatives. “Unemployment declines were largely influenced by usual September reductions in the labor force coupled with seasonal recalls in area schools as the academic year commenced.”

As usual the metropolitan areas in Michigan showed the most actual increases in new employment in the 14 regions tracked.

The biggest increases came in education as classes resumed while the biggest drop came in the tourist and leisure industries as summer vacation time ended.

Construction jobs also saw a loss of 7,100 jobs statewide as the construction season began to ramp down with colder weather approaching.