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Branch County jobless rate up slightly in February

COLDWATER, MI (WTVB) - Branch County’s jobless rate went up fourth tenths of a percent in February to 8.4%. That’s just a tick below the state-wide average of 8.5% and compares to the eight percent the county registered in both January and December. A year ago in February, the unemployment number for the county was 9.1%.

The State Bureau of Labor Market Information said the jobless rate rose in ten of 12 Southwest Michigan counties as a result of more individuals entering the marketplace looking for employment. State officials added that support staff in the education sector, private and public, continued to be recalled to work following seasonal layoffs. It was also reported that manufacturing still reflects a significant share of total payroll jobs in local metro areas.