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Michigan's jobless rate edges down in January

March 12, 2020
Caleb Buhs, or 517-282-6018

LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by a tenth of a percentage point to 3.8 percent in January, according to data released today by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB). The number of employed increased by 10,000, while the unemployment level receded by 4,000, resulting in a workforce gain of 6,000 over the month.

The U.S. jobless rate inched up by 0.1 percentage points in January. The Michigan jobless rate in January was two-tenths of a percentage point above the national rate of 3.6 percent. Both the U.S. and Michigan jobless rates declined by four-tenths of a percentage point over the year.  

“Michigan’s unemployment rate was little changed in January,” said Jason Palmer, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. “Payroll jobs were also flat over the month, with the exception of some additions in construction and professional and business services.”

Monthly labor force trends and highlights

  • With the annual revision process, Michigan’s 2019 annual average unemployment rate was revised slightly upward, from 4.0 percent to 4.1 percent.
  • Michigan’s January 2020 labor force level of 4,947,000 was the largest in the state since June 2009.
  • The state’s total number of unemployed fell by 2.1 percent in January. In comparison, the national unemployment level advanced by 2.4 percent over the month.
  • Total employment rose by 27,000, or 0.6 percent, over the year, a percent gain about half as large as the nation (+1.3 percent).
  • The Michigan January jobless rate of 3.8 percent was the lowest rate recorded in the state since August 2000.

Detroit Metropolitan Area’s jobless rate unchanged in January

The Detroit-Warren-Dearborn Metropolitan Statistical Area’s (MSA’s) seasonally adjusted jobless rate was flat at 4.0 percent in January. Employment in the Detroit region moved up by 3,000, while unemployment inched down by 1,000, resulting in a small workforce advance (+2,000) since December 2019.  

With the annual revision process, the Detroit metro region jobless rate was adjusted upwards by a tenth of a percentage point to 4.3 percent, matching the 2018 annual rate. These recent jobless rates were 10.8 percentage points below the region’s most recent peak of 15.1 percent in 2009.

Between January 2019 and January 2020, the Detroit jobless rate fell by four-tenths of a percentage point. Employment advanced by 16,000, while unemployment fell by 9,000.

Payroll jobs flat in January

According to the monthly survey of employers, January seasonally adjusted Michigan payroll jobs were little changed. Jobs advanced in professional and business services (+4,000) and construction (+3,000), and a monthly job cut occurred in government (-3,000).

Industry employment trends and highlights

  • On a percentage basis, Michigan’s construction industry recorded the largest over-the-month advance in jobs, up by 1.5 percent, in January.
  • With the annual revision process, Michigan’s 2019 annual average payroll job count rose by 15,000.
  • 2019 marked the ninth consecutive year of payroll employment gains, with a statewide annual total of 4,433,000 nonfarm jobs.
  • Over the year, payroll jobs advanced by 20,000, or 0.5 percent.
  • Michigan’s other services sector recorded the most pronounced over-the-year job decline on both a numerical and percentage basis, receding by 4,000, or 2.3 percent since January 2019.

Note: Data Revisions

The data in this release reflects recently revised historical estimates. All states in the nation participate in this revision process, which is facilitated by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Seasonally adjusted and unadjusted monthly labor force estimates for 2015–2019 for Michigan and for the Detroit-Warren-Dearborn MSA were revised.

In addition, all unadjusted payroll job data was revised for 2018–2019. Certain industries had more extensive data revisions, some back to 1990. Seasonally adjusted payroll job data was revised back to 2015 for all industries. Some sectors had additional years of seasonally adjusted revisions. For newly revised data, go to or contact DTMB at 313-456-3090.

Previously published data for these years should be replaced with these new series.

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