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Regional unemployment rates fall in October


Nov. 30, 2021
Caleb Buhs, or 517-282-6018

LANSING, Mich. -- Not seasonally adjusted jobless rates declined in all 17 of Michigan's major labor market areas during October, according to data released today by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) identified a distortion in their statistical estimates and has revised Michigan's September not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate upward by 1.7 percentage points to 5.5 percent. The median September upward jobless rate revision for Michigan counties and regions was +1.2 percentage points, with a range of rate revisions from +0.7 to +3.1 percentage points. (For a full explanation, please see the BLS note at the end of this release.)

"Jobless rates declined in all major Michigan labor markets in October, although labor force levels were generally down over the month," said Wayne Rourke, associate director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. "Payroll job levels advanced in most metro areas in October."  

Major area unemployment rate decreases in October ranged from 0.5 to 1.9 percentage points, with a median decline of 0.7 percentage points. These monthly rate cuts were led by the Lansing metropolitan statistical area (MSA) largely due to recalls from layoffs in the auto sector.

Regional unemployment rates move down over year

Over the year, all 17 Michigan regions displayed jobless rate reductions, with a median decrease of 0.7 percentage points.

October 2021 regional jobless rates remained above pre-pandemic October 2019 levels. All 17 major labor market areas exhibited higher unemployment rates over the last two years, with a median increase of 1.9 percentage points.

Regional employment levels increase over month, down since October 2019

Eleven Michigan regions recorded employment gains between September and October. Increases ranged from 0.1 to 1.8 percent, with a median advance of 0.8 percent. Five regions exhibited employment decreases over the month, and employment was unchanged in the Muskegon MSA during October.

All 17 Michigan regional employment levels remained below pre-pandemic October 2019 levels, with a median decline of 6.5 percent over the two-year period.

Labor force levels decrease over month and year

Twelve Michigan regions had workforce level declines over the month, with a median decrease of 0.7 percent. The largest labor force cut was in the Northwest Lower Michigan region and reflected the typical drop in the area summer tourism workforce.

All 17 labor market areas exhibited workforce reductions over the year, with a median decrease of 2.2 percent.

Regional payroll job levels advance significantly during October

Not seasonally adjusted Michigan nonfarm jobs rose sharply by 63,000, or 1.5 percent, according to the monthly survey of employers. This was the largest monthly job gain in Michigan since February, and the largest October job advance in at least 10 years. Employment rose in most major industries, led by professional and business services (+21,000).

October payroll jobs moved up in 12 Michigan metro areas, with a median increase of 1.1 percent. The largest job addition was in the Lansing metro area (+2.2 percent), with recalls in transportation equipment manufacturing and a seasonal job advance in public education.

Over the year, statewide nonfarm jobs increased by 134,000, or 3.2 percent. Thirteen metro areas exhibited payroll employment advances since October 2020, with a median gain of 2.2 percent.

County jobless rates fall over month and year

Eighty-two Michigan counties displayed jobless rate declines over the month. Over the year, 69 counties exhibited unemployment rate reductions.

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


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

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 October workforce estimates for Michigan and its 17 major labor market areas follows, along with a ranking of county jobless rates for October.

BLS note: Data revision causing temporary series break in September 2021

BLS is responsible for examining the inputs to the statistical model that produces the Michigan monthly employment and unemployment estimates. Due to the impact of the pandemic on employment, BLS implemented a revised method of examining models for outliers on a monthly basis, as opposed to their usual practice of designating outliers annually. This involved implementing level shifts monthly in response to outliers in the Current Population Survey data, where appropriate. These level shifts are designed to preserve movements in the published estimates that the models otherwise would have discounted.

BLS implemented a level shift due to an outlier identified in the Current Population Survey input to the Detroit-Warren-Dearborn metro area unemployment model in January 2021. This adjustment produced some distortions in the benchmarking factors used for Michigan, the Detroit metro area, and the Balance of Michigan. To reduce these distortions, BLS has modified this outlier intervention with the publication of September revised and October preliminary estimates. This modification resulted in estimates that better reflect the model inputs for the most recent two months and produced a revised September not seasonally adjusted Michigan unemployment rate of 5.5 percent. This also resulted in an upward revision in September unemployment rates for all Michigan metro areas, regions, and counties. Data corrections for January - August 2021 will be addressed during the usual annual revision process at the end of 2021. The revised estimates will be published in March 2022.

The revised estimates for September 2021 and the newly published October 2021 data can be fully compared with data for all months of 2020 and prior years. However, the data for September and October 2021 should not be compared with previously released estimates for January - August 2021 until all months of 2021 are revised in March 2022.


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