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Metro area jobless rates down over the month in November

January 2, 2020
Caleb Buhs, or 517-303-4038

LANSING, Mich. -- November non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates fell in 11 of Michigan’s 17 major labor market areas, according to data from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB). Labor force and employment totals advanced over the month for most Michigan regions.

“Michigan’s regional labor markets moved as expected in November,” said Jason Palmer, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, “Significant jobless rate reductions occurred in a few metro areas due to worker recalls associated with the end of the strike in the auto industry. Some other regions exhibited typical seasonal jobless rate increases over the month.”

Michigan regional jobless rates ranged from 2.2 to 5.2 percent in November. Jobless rate declines ranged from 0.1 to 1.1 percentage points with a median cut of 0.3 percentage points. The largest regional rate reductions occurred in the Lansing-East Lansing Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) (-1.1 percentage point), followed by the Flint (-1.0) and Saginaw (-0.9) MSAs, due to strike-related recalls of workers in the auto sector. Three regions had seasonal November jobless rate gains, led by the Northeast Lower Michigan region (+0.9). Jobless rates in the Monroe, Muskegon, and Niles-Benton Harbor MSAs remained unchanged in November.

Unemployment rates stable over year
Jobless rates were little changed since November 2018 in most Michigan regions. Rates inched down in 11 areas by 0.1 to 0.8 percentage points for a minor median reduction of two-tenths of a percentage point. The Monroe MSA had the largest over-the-year rate cut (-0.8 percentage points). Three regions recorded small over-the-year jobless rate advances, led by the Saginaw (+0.2) and Bay City (+0.2) MSAs. The Flint, Midland, and Muskegon area jobless rates were unchanged over the year.   

Total employment up over month, year
November employment levels advanced in 13 regions with a notable median gain of 1.8 percent. The Saginaw MSA led the way with a 2.8 percent monthly employment addition. Four Michigan labor market areas demonstrated employment declines over the month, led by the Northeast Lower Michigan region (-1.5 percent).

Employment rose in 14 regions over the year, led by the Muskegon MSA (+2.0 percent). The only region with an over-the-year employment decline was Bay City, down by 0.8 percent since November 2018.

Labor force levels up over month, year
November workforce levels advanced in 13 regions and receded in four. Workforce expansions were considerable, with a median increase of 1.5 percent. The Saginaw metro area had the largest monthly labor force gain, up by 1.9 percent. Four Michigan regions had monthly workforce declines, led by the Detroit metro area (-1.2 percent).

Labor force levels rose in 14 regions over the year, led by the Muskegon MSA (+1.9 percent). The Bay City and Battle Creek MSAs recorded labor force reductions over the year.

Manufacturing jobs rebound in November
Seasonally unadjusted payroll jobs in Michigan advanced by 20,000 over the month. This was largely due to a rebound of 20,000 jobs in the state’s manufacturing industry, as auto workers were back on the job following the October labor dispute. Other industries with notable over-the-month seasonal advances included trade, transportation, and utilities (+10,000), and professional and business services (+8,000). Michigan’s payroll job additions were partially offset by a large seasonal decline in the state’s leisure and hospitality sector (-18,000).  

In November, payroll jobs rose in 11 of Michigan’s 14 metro areas, led on a percentage basis by the Flint (+5.2 percent), Saginaw (+2.4 percent), and Lansing-East Lansing (+1.9 percent) regions. Nonfarm employment moved down slightly in three regions, including Kalamazoo (-0.2 percent), Niles-Benton Harbor (-0.2 percent) and Grand Rapids (-0.1 percent).  

Over the past year, seasonally unadjusted payroll jobs increased by 17,000 statewide, or 0.4 percent. Seven metro regions recorded job gains over the year, led on a percentage basis by the Niles-Benton Harbor region (+1.8 percent).  Five regions exhibited job cuts over this period, led on a percentage basis by the Bay City MSA (-2.0 percent). Both Jackson and Midland’s total nonfarm employment levels remained unchanged since November 2018.  

County jobless rate trends mixed over month and down over year
During November, 38 Michigan counties exhibited jobless rate advances, 35 had jobless rate declines, and ten remained unchanged. Over the year, 49 counties recorded jobless rate reductions while 22 saw unemployment rate hikes, and 12 county jobless rates were unchanged.

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

Note: Data in this release is not seasonally adjusted. As a result, employment and unemployment trends may differ from previously released Michigan seasonally adjusted data.

Note to Editors: Please ensure that the source for state and regional unemployment rates reads “Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget.”