COLDWATER, MI (WTVB) - The jobless numbers in Branch County and in most of Southwest Michigan went up in May as schools let out and the number of job seekers rose dramatically. So many in fact that it overwhelmed significant and impressive job gains in many counties. Branch County saw 500 new jobs created in May but joblessness rose from 7.7 to 8.3%. A year ago in May, the rate for the county was also 8.3%.
There was more of the same in Calhoun County with 1,700 new jobs created last month but still the unemployment rate rose from 6.6% to 7.3%. Van Buren County was the only county to buck the trend and actually show an improvement in the jobless rate due to seasonal labor in agriculture and tourism. Barry County had the lowest jobless figure in the state at 5.6%, beating Ann Arbor by .3%