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Regional Michigan jobless rates display mixed trends in March


April 22, 2021
Caleb Buhs, or 517-282-6018

LANSING, Mich. -- Not seasonally adjusted jobless rates edged down slightly in 10 of Michigan’s 17 major labor market areas during March, according to data released today from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget. Unemployment rates inched up in three regions and remained unchanged in four areas.

“Michigan regional jobless rates displayed little change in March,” said Wayne Rourke, associate director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. “Nonfarm job levels advanced modestly in nearly all Michigan metro areas over the month.”

Michigan regional unemployment rate changes were minor in March, with monthly rate decreases ranging from 0.1 to 0.3 percentage points. Minor rate advances were observed over the month in the Detroit, Lansing, and Ann Arbor metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). The Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Midland MSA rates, as well as the Upper Peninsula region rate, were all unchanged in March.  

Regional unemployment rates increase over the year

Jobless rates rose over the year in 15 of Michigan’s 17 major labor market regions, with a median increase of 1.8 percentage points. The Muskegon metro area recorded the largest over-the-year rate gain of 2.9 percentage points.

Total employment up over month, down over year

Regional total employment levels rose over the month in 14 Michigan labor market areas. Employment advances ranged from 0.1 to 1.7 percent, with a median increase of 0.4 percent. The largest over-the-month employment addition occurred in the Detroit MSA. Employment edged down slightly in the Muskegon and Flint MSAs and remained unchanged in the Grand Rapids metro region.   

All 17 Michigan major labor market areas exhibited employment declines over the year with a pronounced median employment cut of 5.0 percent. The Lansing MSA exhibited the largest over-the-year decline, with employment down by 7.2 percent since March 2020.

Workforce levels mixed over month, down over year

Regional labor force levels advanced in 10 Michigan areas during March, with a median increase of 0.4 percent. The largest workforce addition occurred in the Detroit metro area. Workforce levels fell in five regions, led by the Muskegon MSA (-0.5 percent). The labor force levels in Bay City and Kalamazoo remained unchanged over the month.

All 17 regions exhibited labor force decreases over the year, with a median reduction of 3.1 percent. The largest over-the-year percent decline occurred in the Detroit metro area.

Nonfarm employment increases slightly in March

The monthly survey of employers indicated that not seasonally adjusted Michigan payroll jobs edged up in March by 33,000, or 0.8 percent, to 4,090,000. Employment increases were seen in most statewide industries, led on a numerical basis by the leisure and hospitality sector (+13,000).

Payroll jobs advanced in 13 metro areas over the month, with a median increase of 0.8 percent. The Midland MSA exhibited the largest over-the-month job gain of 1.2 percent. Muskegon was the only region to record a minor job decline in March (-0.2 percent).

Michigan nonfarm jobs fell sharply by 284,000 over the year, or 6.5 percent, with the largest percentage job reduction in leisure and hospitality (-76,000). All Michigan metro areas registered payroll job decreases over the year, led by the Monroe MSA (-9.1 percent).

County jobless rates mixed over month, up over year

Forty-nine Michigan counties had jobless rate reductions in March, while 22 counties exhibited rate gains and 12 county rates were unchanged. Over the year, 70 counties had jobless rate increases, led by Muskegon County (+2.9 percentage points).

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.

A breakdown of not seasonally adjusted March workforce estimates for Michigan and its 17 major labor market areas follows, along with a ranking of county jobless rates for March.

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