Marginal Drop In Jobless Rates


    GRAND RAPIDS — October seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates dipped slightly in the Grand Rapids MSA by two-tenths percent to 5.8 percent, down from a revised 6 percent in September.

    Employment in the region increased by 5,500, though unemployment declined only by 1,100 people because the region’s civilian labor force increased by 4,400 workers.

    The October 2003 to October 2004 employment increase in the region’s counties was:

    • Kent — from 307,225 to 313,375.
    • Ottawa — from 133,025 to 135,700
    • Muskegon — from 74,659 to 76,150

    The Grand Rapids metro area unemployment rate, like the region’s, is 5.8 percent, down from 7.3 percent at this time last year.

    In OttawaCounty the unemployment rate has dropped from 5.7 percent to 4.9 percent, and in MuskegonCounty, unemployment dropped from 9.7 percent last year to 7.4 percent this year.

    The Grand Rapids MSA unemployment rate remains slightly below the seasonally unadjusted statewide unemployment rate of 6 percent.

    According to the monthly survey of employers, the number of wage and salary jobs in the region increased slightly last month from 565,800 to 567,100.

    Gains since September in education services (plus 3,000), and state and local government (plus 3,700) were offset by job declines in non-durable goods manufacturing (minus 1,000), trade, transportation and warehousing (minus 1,500), and leisure and hospitality (minus 1,800). 

    Other sectors changed insignificantly.

    The Grand Rapids metro area’s year-over-year change in nonagricultural employment was an addition of 300, or 0.1 percent. The majority of the total payroll employment increase over the year is from private and public education. Job losses since October 2003 were concentrated in retail trade, leisure and hospitality, and other services.    

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