January 21, 2019

Prison closure shows up in November unemployment numbers


ARENAC COUNTY — Standish Max was officially closed for the whole month of November and the county’s loss of its largest employer shows up in the 2.3 percent spike in unemployment for that month.

“That has had a lot of impact on Arenac County for this month (November),” said Labor Market Analyst for the Bay, Saginaw, Midland, Flint and Thumb area, Rhea Acuna. She added that the 18.5 percent, up from 16.2 percent in October, is also partially due to people hoping to land seasonal retail jobs, but being unsuccessful.

Michigan Labor Market Information provided by the Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth, shows that the labor force in the county also shed 144 bodies in November and the total number of people employed dropped by 295 people, while the number of the unemployed rose by 151.

The prison’s closure, despite many employees of Standish Max being transferred to different facilities, also brought Arenac County down when comparing it to other counties. In October, Arenac ranked ahead of 16 counties when it came to unemployment, but in November, only nine of 83 counties had a higher unemployment rate.

Surrounding counties didn’t make it through the month of November without unemployment going up, either, as Ogemaw County’s rate increased from 12.9 to 14 percent from October; Gladwin County’s increased from 16 to 17.1 percent; and Iosco County’s unemployment went up 1.4 percent, from 16.6 to 18 percent.


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