It's something all of us have heard 2,000 times in the last few years: No one wants to work!

That statement is obviously false. People want to work. The real question is, can they find a job that can financially support their lives and basic needs like housing and food?

With that in mind, I decided to look into how Kalamazoo's unemployment rate measures up to the rest of Michigan. Surprisingly, we're not doing too poorly.

According to Michigan Labor Market Information, as of December 2022, Kalamazoo was in the bottom 10 for unemployment rates in the state of Michigan. The bottom 10 rank as follows:

  1. Livingston County - 2.4%
  2. Oakland County - 2.5%
  3. Ottawa County - 2.9%
  4. Washtenaw County - 3%
  5. Kent County - 3.1%
  6. Macomb County - 3.2%
  7. Clinton County - 3.3%
  8. Ionia County - 3.4%
  9. Allegan County - 3.5%
  10. Kalamazoo County - 3.5%

To give you a comparison, here are 5 counties in Michigan that have the highest unemployment rates:

  1. Mackinac County - 15.9%
  2. Cheboygan County - 10.9%
  3. Alger County - 10.3%
  4. Roscommon County - 10.2%
  5. Oscoda County - 9.7%
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For the entire state of Michigan, as of December 2022, the unemployment rate was sitting at 4.30% according to So, all-in-all, Kalamazoo County is doing relatively well with unemployment.

How is the Unemployment Rate Calculated?

According to, calculating the unemployment rate for the United States is done by,

dividing the unemployed individuals by the total number of individuals in the labor force. This is then converted into a percentage. How the U.S. determines the labor force and unemployed varies. The labor force, for example, only includes those who are employed or unemployed and seeking employment

On that last note, only counting those who are unemployed and seeking employment, has been called controversial in the past. Some argue that by not including those who are not looking for work, it can skew or misrepresent the unemployment percentage. Read more here.

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