January unemployment rate rises

January’s unemployment rate in St. Joseph County was one-half of a percent higher than the previous month.

The monthly labor-market analysis by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget showed the county’s 4.5 percent January unemployment rate marked a decrease from December’s 4 percent.

St. Joseph County was below the state unemployment average, which was 4.6 percent in January.

The agency said unemployment rates in Southwest Michigan inched up in January due to a seasonal decline in employment and an increase in the number of jobseekers. Labor force and employment advanced since January 2018.

Kalamazoo County featured the lowest unemployment rate in the region in January, at 3.5 percent.

Meanwhile, Van Buren County had the region’s highest, at 5.8 percent.

Cass County’s unemployment rate for the month was 4.8 percent.

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