Unemployment remains high in local markets

Local jobless rates continued to increase in September, according to a report from Michigan Department of Career Development Employment Service Agency.
Genesee County unemployment increased by 1.1 percent for September 2003 compared with 2002, while Oakland County jobless rates increased by .6 percent.
Locally, Brandon Township leads the area in unemployment with 6.6 percent outpacing Oakland County at 5 percent. Groveland Township remains the same as Oakland County.
In Genesee County, Atlas Township’s unemployement tails the county average by 5.9 percent.
Greg Johnson, co-owner of Burton Industries in Atlas Township, said the company is not currently hiring, but has filled two or three positions this fall. The company, which produces automation and robotics used by automobile manufacturers, employs mostly engineers and welders.
“We’re getting absolutely more applications,” said Johnson, “probably 50 to 75 percent more than normal. The increase has really occurred over the last 12 to 16 months.”
Recent unemployment changes may be affected by the change in seasonal employment, said Bruce Weaver, Michigan Department of Career Development area analyst.
At the Goodrich Marketplace, there’s been “very little turnover,”says owner Rick Cassabon.
“High school kids are staying at home and going to school now. They need to work to support their education,” Cassabon said.
Competition is fierce in all job markets, but especially for ages 16 to 19, said Weaver, as the youth labor force has been squeezed out by the number of displaced older workers now willing to accept part-time positions.