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Michigan unemployment rate decreases in September


Oct. 20, 2021
Caleb Buhs, or 517-282-6018

LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan's seasonally adjusted jobless rate declined slightly by a tenth of a percentage point in September to 4.6 percent, according to data released today by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget. The statewide employment total advanced by 16,000, while the number of unemployed inched down by 4,000. Michigan's labor force increased by 12,000 over the month.

The unemployment rate in the U.S. recorded a large reduction of four-tenths of a percentage point in September to 4.8 percent. Over the past year, both the U.S. jobless rate and the Michigan rate fell significantly.   

"Michigan's labor market was stable in September," said Wayne Rourke, associate director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. "The unemployment rate and payroll job counts both showed minimal change over the month."  

Monthly and annual labor force trends and highlights

  • Michigan's total employment level inched up by 0.4 percent over the month, similar to the national rate of growth (+0.3 percent).
  • Total unemployment declined significantly in Michigan and the U.S. since September 2020, as persons returned to jobs from pandemic-related layoffs.
  • The statewide jobless rate in the third quarter of 2021 was well below that of the third quarter 2020.

Michigan's September 2021 unemployment rate remains above pre-pandemic level

  • Michigan's September 2021 employment level remained 226,000, or 4.8 percent, below the February 2020 pre-pandemic total.
  • Total unemployment in the state was 36,000 or 19.4 percent, higher than the February 2020 level. 
  • The September 2021 jobless rate of 4.6 percent was above the pre-pandemic rate of 3.7 percent.

Detroit region unemployment rate declines in September

The Detroit-Warren-Dearborn Metropolitan Statistical Area's (MSA) seasonally adjusted September jobless rate decreased by two-tenths of a percentage point to 3.9 percent. The Detroit region employment level increased by 12,000, while unemployment receded by 4,000, resulting in a workforce gain of 8,000 since August. 

Joblessness in the Detroit metro area has declined significantly since September 2020.

Nonfarm jobs increase in September

The monthly survey of employers indicated that total payroll employment rose slightly by 8,000 in September (+0.2 percent), resulting in a September job level of 4,181,000.

Minor employment changes occurred in multiple industries during September. The state's leisure and hospitality sector had the largest monthly job gain (on a seasonally adjusted basis). Jobs (unadjusted) in this industry always decline seasonally in September, but the job drop in September 2021 was smaller than usual.

Industry employment trends and highlights

  • September was the fifth month in a row to exhibit an over-the-month payroll employment increase, although job gains in the last two months have been modest.
  • The statewide education and health services sector exhibited the largest over-the-month job decline, down by 6,000, or 0.9 percent.
  • Manufacturing jobs edged up slightly for the second consecutive month during September.
  • Statewide payroll employment moved up by 99,000, or 2.4 percent, over the year. Michigan nonfarm jobs were 272,000, or 6.1 percent, below the February 2020 pre-pandemic level.
  • The state's professional and business services sector exhibited the largest over-the-year numeric job advance, adding 30,000 positions since September 2020.

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


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