Payroll count drops in Berrien

Published 8:47 pm Wednesday, April 6, 2005

By Staff
JACKSON - February unemployment rates fell in almost all regional counties except Cass and Allegan.
Cass County's reading remained at 5.8 percent. It had been at 5.5 percent in February 2004.
Cass County's civilian labor force increased by 202, from 27,667 in January to 27,869 in February, compared to 26,388 a year ago in February 2004, for an annual change of 1,481.
Cass County's number of employed people increased 175 for the month and 1,298 for the year, from 26,071 in January to 26,246 in February (24,948 in February 2004). Jobless rates in Branch (8.1 percent) and St. Joseph (7.1 percent) counties remained unchanged between January and February.
From February 2000 to February 2005, jobless rates rose in the Battle Creek (+2.9 percentage points), Jackson (+4.2), Kalamazoo (+3.5) and Niles-Benton Harbor (+4.8) metro areas.
Payroll employment in the Niles-Benton Harbor MSA (Berrien County) decreased by 100 over the month.
Manufacturing and retail trade each lost 200 jobs between January and February. Local education returned to full staffing (+400).
Payroll employment in the area was 1,100 above last year's levels.
The jobless rate for Niles-Benton Harbor stood at 8.4 percent in February, down from 8.5 percent in January, but more than the 8.3 percent reported in February 2004.
In the Kalamazoo-Portage MSA (Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties), total non-farm payroll employment rose by 100 over the month.
The area registered a seasonal employment gain in local and state education (+400). However, retail trade and construction lost jobs (-300 and -200, respectively). February payroll employment in Kalamazoo was 400 above last year's level.
Van Buren County's unemployment rate was 9.2 percent, compared to 9.5 percent in January and 8.2 percent in February 2004.