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Michigan unemployment rate declines in April


May 19, 2021
Caleb Buhs, or 517-282-6018

LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan's seasonally adjusted jobless rate decreased slightly by two-tenths of a percentage point to 4.9 percent in April, according to data released today by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget. Employment in Michigan edged up modestly by 6,000 and unemployment moved down by 8,000, resulting in the state workforce inching down by 2,000 over the month.   

The national unemployment rate edged up by a tenth of a percentage point in April to 6.1 percent. Michigan's April jobless rate was 1.2 percentage points below the U.S. rate. Over the year, the national rate fell by 8.7 percentage points, while Michigan's rate dropped sharply by 18.7 percentage points. These large jobless rate cuts over the past year reflected the recalls of workers to jobs since the peak of pandemic-related unemployment in April 2020.

"Michigan's employment situation has improved markedly one year after the height of the COVID-19 pandemic-related layoffs in the state," said Wayne Rourke, associate director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. "However, auto-related layoffs in Michigan occurred in April 2021 due to the national shortage of semiconductor chips and the resulting impact on auto production."

Monthly and annual labor force trends and highlights

  • Michigan employment levels were little changed in April, inching up by 0.1 percent. This change was comparable to the employment increase exhibited by the U.S. (+0.2 percent).
  • Over the year, the state labor force rose by 2.5 percent, while the national workforce advanced by 2.9 percent since April 2020.
  • Michigan employment levels were 968,000, or 27.6 percent, above the year-ago, pandemic-related lows, about double the percent gain nationally (+13.4 percent).
  • Total unemployment fell by 853,000, or 78.7 percent, over the year, a decrease substantially larger than the percentage U.S. decline (-57.5 percent). 

Michigan's April 2021 workforce trends compared with pre-pandemic levels

  • Despite a substantial employment recovery since the pandemic-related low of April 2020, Michigan total employment in April 2021 remained 273,000 below the February 2020 pre-pandemic level.
  • Total unemployment in the state during April 2021 was 46,000, or 24.9 percent, higher than pre-pandemic levels.
  • The Michigan jobless rate of 4.9 percent during April 2021 was 1.2 percentage points above the February 2020 rate.

Detroit metro area jobless rate decreases in April

The Detroit-Warren-Dearborn Metropolitan Statistical Area's (MSA) seasonally adjusted jobless rate moved down by two-tenths of a percentage point in April to 4.3 percent. The regional employment level rose by 5,000 in April.

The Detroit MSA unemployment rate fell significantly by 20.4 percentage points since last year's peak in April 2020. Employment rebounded by 462,000, while unemployment dropped sharply by 394,000. The Detroit metro region workforce level rose by 68,000 since April 2020.

Auto industry jobs decrease In April

The monthly survey of employers exhibited an April decline of 19,000 in seasonally adjusted payroll employment, or 0.5 percent. The total number of nonfarm jobs in Michigan was 4,114,000 during April.

The largest over-the-month job reduction occurred in the state's automotive manufacturing sector (-13,000) due to production cuts and layoffs occurring as a result of a nationwide semiconductor chip shortage.

Industry employment trends and highlights

  • After three consecutive months of nonfarm employment gains, payroll jobs edged down in April.
  • Total Michigan nonfarm jobs rose by 717,000, or 21.1 percent, over the year, reflecting job recalls since the pandemic-related low in April 2020. However, April 2021 payroll employment remained 339,000 below the pre-pandemic February 2020 level.
  • The state's leisure and hospitality sector had the largest percentage rebound in employment over the year, with jobs advancing by 148,000, or 76.3 percent. However, job levels in the sector were still significantly below the February 2020 level (-94,000).

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