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Monroe County logs slow, steady job growth

Posted by Joe Bell on July 8, 2016
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Monroe County logs slow, steady job growth
Monroe County added 500 jobs between April and May, according to the latest labor report.

monroenews |

By Danielle Portteus
Monroe News staff reporter
Posted Jul. 8, 2016 at 8:00 AM

Monroe County added 500 jobs between April and May, according to the latest labor report.
Since May, 2015, employers have added 1,400 jobs through May 31, according to the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives.
Regionally, despite seasonal hiring in construction; leisure and hospitality; professional and business services, and retail trade, unemployment rates rose slightly in May throughout the region, including a .1 percent increase in Monroe County, which recorded a 3.6 percent unemployment rate in April.
Yet Monroe County’s unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was below the statewide average of 4.5 percent in May. It placed the county with the third lowest jobless rate among the 14 Michigan metro areas.
The additional job growth and the low unemployment rate are considered positive signs, said Tim Lake, president and chief executive officer of the Monroe County Business Development Corp.
“I think it is a positive sign for southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio and the region in general,” Mr. Lake said. “What I see is we continue to eat at the unemployment rate, and I hope that results in rooftops.”
Mr. Lake said the county’s population has declined since 2010 and he hopes the additional job growth will contribute to population growth in the months to come.
“With the housing starts and the apartments renting, I see it going back up,” he said.
Nonfarm payroll in Monroe County increased by 500 in May to a total of 44,000. Employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 300 jobs, and 100-job additions were recorded in manufacturing and retail trade, according to the report.
Overall, the county labor force includes 79,000, up from 78,500 in April and 77,600 from May, 2015.
“We know our manufacturing is coming back, but the majority I suspect is coming from health care,” Mr. Lake said of the 1,400 additional jobs.
The additional jobs could signal the state finally is shaking off the prolonged recession.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” Mr. Lake said. “But we will never add back the jobs in manufacturing that we lost in the recession.”
Instead, the region and the state should be focused on diversifying its workforce while attracting talent to the area, which Mr. Lake admits is a challenge.

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