Typical seasonal employment trends were seen throughout the Southwest Michigan job market in May.

Jobs continued to advance in construction and mining, leisure and hospitality, and retail trade. However, employment in higher education dropped as schools began to let out for the summer.

According to the state’s Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, the number of unemployed inched up or remained flat in May. Jobless rates edged up one to two-tenths of a percentage point in metro areas.

Since May 2018, employment levels increased, while unemployment and jobless rates were virtually flat across the region.

“May employment inched up, while the number of unemployed was stable in all Southwest Michigan labor markets. Jobless rates remained virtually flat throughout the region,” said Leonidas Murembya, an economic specialist with the state’s Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. “Usual seasonal payroll job trends were seen in May, with continued gains in construction and retail trade.”

Allegan County’s unemployment rate remained the same at 2.8 percent, Cass County’s unemployment rate rose from 3.7 percent in April to 4 percent in May, and Berrien County saw its jobless rate inch up from 3.6 percent to 3.8 percent.

The Van Buren and Kalamazoo counties region saw its combined unemployment rise from 3.1 percent to 3.3 percent.

Overall, Michigan finished May with an increase from 3.7 percent to a 3.9 percent jobless rate.

Out of Michigan’s 83 counties, Berrien County had the 24th lowest unemployment rate. Ottawa County had the lowest rate at 2.6 percent, while Alger County was the highest at 7.8 percent.

A look at Berrien jobs

Non-farm payroll employment in Berrien County continued to increase in May, up by 1.3 percent.

A substantial seasonal employment gain was seen in leisure and hospitality (700-plus jobs) from April to May. A 100-job addition each were recorded in construction and mining, government, and manufacturing.

However, private educational and health services cut 200 positions in May.

Jobs in all other major sectors remained unchanged over the month. Total non-farm payroll employment in the region rose for the fourth consecutive month to a total of 63,300. Over the past year, jobs in Berrien County were stable, inching up by 200.

Employment moved up since May 2018 in manufacturing (+300) and government (+200). However, the sectors of construction and mining and private educational and health services each cut 100 positions over the year.

Contact: twittkowski@TheHP.com, 932-0358, Twitter: @TonyWittkowski