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Year ends with low unemployment

The Holland Sentinel • Feb 1, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Ottawa County closed out 2016 with one of the state’s lowest unemployment rates, according to the Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives.

The county’s December 2016 unemployment rate was 2.8 percent, the second-lowest in the state behind Washtenaw County's 2.6 percent.

Allegan County's unemployment rate was slightly higher, at 3.4 percent. However, it was still low enough to rank in the state's top 10 lowest rates.

The Grand Rapids-Wyoming Metropolitan Statistic Area — which includes Ottawa, Kent, Barry and Montcalm counties — slipped down by 0.1 percent to a combined unemployment rate of 3 percent.

Nearly every major sector in the Grand Rapids-Wyoming MSA had flat or decreasing job levels in December. The largest changes were seen in professional and business services (minus 1,800 jobs) and mining, logging and construction (minus 1,300 jobs.)

Some sectors saw new jobs in December, with more than 800 in manufacturing, more than 400 in financial, and more than 400 in leisure and hospitality.

Over the past year, job gains were very widespread across industries. The sectors with the largest over-the-year job additions were professional and business services with about 3,800 jobs; leisure and hospitality with about 3,300 jobs; and 2,500 manufacturing jobs.

The little-to-no movement on unemployment in West Michigan in December was the norm for the rest of the state, and the norm for all of 2016. The West Michigan MSAs recorded slightly higher jobless rates from year to year. The Grand Rapids-Wyoming MSA had a rate gain of 0.2 percent since December 2015, while the Muskegon MSA was up by 0.3.

These rate changes differed slightly from the state overall, as Michigan's jobless rate was essentially flat over the year.

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