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Michigan's unemployment rate declines in August

September 18, 2019
Caleb Buhs, or 517-303-4038

LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate edged down by a tenth of a percentage point to 4.2 percent in August, according to data released today by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget. Total employment rose by 4,000 over the month while the number of unemployed was little changed (-1,000). The state’s workforce edged up slightly in August.

Michigan’s August unemployment rate was five-tenths of a percentage point above the national rate. The U.S. jobless rate was unchanged over the month. “Michigan’s labor market remained steady in August,” said Jason Palmer, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, “Total employment and payroll jobs both recorded minor gains over the month.” 

Michigan’s August 2019 unemployment rate was three-tenths above the state’s August 2018 rate of 3.9 percent. The national jobless rate moved down by a tenth of a percentage point over this period.

Monthly Labor Force Trends & Highlights

  • Michigan’s workforce advanced so far in all months of 2019. Over the year, the state labor force grew by 69,000, or 1.4 percent, similar to the national growth rate of 1.3 percent.
  • Total employment rose for the third consecutive month in August. The August level was the highest statewide total since September 2005.
  • Michigan’s over-the-year total employment gain of 1.1 percent was below the national employment growth rate of 1.5 percent.
  • After five consecutive months of total unemployment increases, Michigan’s unemployment level edged down in August by 0.5 percent.

Detroit Metropolitan Area’s August Jobless Rate Down Slightly

The Detroit-Warren-Dearborn Metropolitan Statistical Area’s (MSA’s) seasonally adjusted jobless rate declined by a tenth of a percentage point in August to 4.5 percent. Total employment inched up by 3,000 while the number of unemployed receded by 2,000 over the month.

Over the year, the Detroit MSA jobless rate rose by half a percentage point. Employment increased by 22,000 or 1.1 percent while total unemployment moved up by 12,000 or 14.0 percent. The region’s labor force advanced by 33,000, or 1.6 percent, over the year.  

August Payroll Employment Edges Up Over Month

According to the monthly survey of employers, seasonally adjusted payroll jobs in Michigan advanced by 6,000 over the month to 4,447,000 in August. Notable monthly industry employment gains occurred in professional and business services and government, with each industry adding 5,000 jobs in August.

Industry Employment Trends and Highlights                

  • Michigan’s August nonfarm job total of 4,447,000 was the highest level recorded in the state since January 2003.
  • Trade, transportation and utilities jobs in the state receded for the fourth consecutive month in August. The industry’s August job level of 787,000 was its lowest level so far in 2019.
  • In addition to recording the largest numerical over-the-month industry employment gain, professional and business services had the most pronounced over-the-year job advance as well, up by 7,000 since August 2018.
  • Education and health services exhibited the most pronounced over-the-year employment decline both on a numerical and percentage basis, down by 1.3 percent since August 2018.
  • Jobs in the statewide government sector rose for the third consecutive month in August.
  • From August 2018 to August 2019, payroll jobs in Michigan advanced by 16,000, or 0.4 percent, one percentage point below the national over-the-year job gain of 1.4 percent.

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