Michigan jobless rate edges down in March

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 14, 2021
Caleb Buhs, buhsc@michigan.gov or 517-282-6018

LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate inched down by a tenth of a percentage point to 5.1 percent in March, according to data released today by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget. Total employment in the state rose by 12,000, while unemployment edged down by 4,000, resulting in a minor workforce gain of 8,000 over the month. 

The U.S. jobless rate fell by two-tenths of a percentage point between February and March to 6.0 percent. Michigan’s unemployment rate in March was 0.9 percentage points below the national rate. Since March 2020, the U.S rate advanced by 1.6 percentage points, a slightly larger gain than the 1.4 percentage point increase exhibited by the state.    

“Michigan’s labor market was stable in March,” said Wayne Rourke, associate director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. “The state jobless rate and number of payroll jobs were little changed over the month. Payroll jobs and total employment have dropped sharply in Michigan over the past year due to the impact of the pandemic.”

Monthly labor force trends and highlights

  • Total employment in Michigan edged up by 0.3 percent over the month, an increase comparable to that nationwide (+0.4 percent).
  • The state’s number of unemployed moved down in March for the third consecutive month.
  • Michigan’s labor force declined by 4.4 percent over the year, well above the pace of reduction nationwide (-1.3 percent).
  • Since the peak of COVID-19 pandemic-related layoffs in April 2020, the number of Michigan unemployed fell by 845,000, or 78.0 percent.
  • Michigan’s quarterly jobless rate for the first three months of 2021 was 5.3 percent, 2.9 percentage points below the 8.2 percent rate recorded during the fourth quarter of 2020.

Detroit region jobless rate unchanged in March

The Detroit-Warren-Dearborn Metropolitan Statistical Area’s (MSA) seasonally adjusted March unemployment rate was unchanged in March at 4.5 percent. The regional labor force edged up by 13,000 over the month.  

The Detroit MSA jobless rate rose by 0.3 percentage points over the past year.  Employment levels fell by 134,000, while the number of unemployed remained unchanged. The Detroit metro region workforce level receded significantly by 133,000 since March 2020.

Payroll jobs increase slightly over the month

The monthly survey of employers indicated that seasonally adjusted Michigan payroll jobs edged up by 15,000 over the month, or 0.4 percent. Michigan’s total nonfarm job count in March was 4,133,000.

Minor employment advances were observed in several Michigan industries. The most prominent over-the-month numerical job addition occurred in the state’s leisure and hospitality sector (+6,000).

Industry employment trends and highlights

  • Payroll jobs rose for the third consecutive month in March. Nonfarm employment advanced by 105,000, or 2.6 percent, since December 2020.
  • Michigan’s trade, transportation, and utilities sector exhibited consistent over-the-month job recalls since the large pandemic-related job loss in April 2020. Nonfarm jobs in the sector rose by 145,000, or 22.8 percent, since last April.
  • March 2021 marks one year since the first COVID-19 cases were reported in Michigan. Over the year, total nonfarm payroll jobs fell by 282,000, or 6.4 percent.
  • On a numerical basis, the largest over-the-year job losses occurred in the leisure and hospitality (-72,000) and government (-46,000) sectors.
  • Michigan’s first quarter 2021 nonfarm job count of 4,102,000 was about 30,000 above the prior quarter, but still 337,000 below the pre-pandemic total from the first quarter of 2020.

For more detailed information, including data tables, view the full release.

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