Skip to main content

Michigan unemployment rate edges down in January 2022

Jobless rate fell sharply in Michigan during 2021

March 10, 2022

LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate declined by two-tenths of a percentage point to 4.9 percent during January, according to data released today by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget. As a result of the annual revision process, the statewide December 2021 rate was revised downward by half a percentage point to 5.1 percent. Michigan’s total employment level in January moved up by 19,000, while the number of unemployed decreased by 11,000.

“Michigan’s unemployment rate declined significantly from 10.0 percent in 2020 to 5.9 percent in 2021,” said Wayne Rourke, associate director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives (LMISI). “This was the third largest rate drop among states in 2021, as Michigan workers returned to jobs following pandemic-related layoffs.”

Michigan’s jobless rate was nearly a full percentage point above the national rate of 4.0 percent in January. The U.S. unemployment rate fell by 2.4 percentage points since January 2021, while the statewide rate declined by 1.5 percentage points over this period.

Monthly and annual labor force trends and highlights

  • Michigan’s workforce was nearly unchanged in January, edging up by 7,000 or 0.1 percent. In comparison, the U.S labor force rose by 0.9 percent over the month.
  • Total employment in the state advanced over the year by 113,000, or 2.5 percent, an increase little over half of that recorded nationally (+4.8 percent).
  • Michigan’s January 2022 rate of 4.9 percent remained 1.1 percentage points above the February 2020 pre-pandemic rate of 3.8 percent.

Michigan’s 2021 annual average labor force data

Michigan’s annual average jobless rate in 2021 of 5.9 percent fell a significant 4.1 percentage points below the 2020 average. The decline in the rate over the year reflected recalls of workers since massive pandemic-related layoffs in mid-2020.

Annual average trends and highlights

  • Despite the improvement in unemployment trends in 2021, Michigan’s annual average workforce fell 1.4 percent below 2020 levels.
  • Annual average employment in the state rose by 134,000, or 3.1 percent, during 2021.
  • The number of Michigan unemployed dropped by over 200,000 in 2021, but remained 77,000, or 37.9 percent, above the 2019 annual average unemployment level.

Detroit metro area unemployment rate declines in January

The Detroit-Warren-Dearborn Metropolitan Statistical Area’s (MSA) seasonally adjusted jobless rate receded by 0.2 percentage points to 5.1 percent over the month. The Detroit MSA December rate was revised upwards by a tenth of a percentage point during the annual revision process to 5.3 percent. Employment advanced by 11,000 during January, while unemployment decreased by 5,000, resulting in a solid workforce gain of 6,000 over the month.

The Detroit MSA jobless rate fell significantly by 2.0 percentage points since January 2021. Employment rose by 81,000, and total unemployment dropped by 40,000.

Detroit MSA annual average labor force trends

The Detroit metro region’s 2021 annual average jobless rate was 6.2 percent, substantially below the 2020 annual average rate of 11.5 percent. The 2021 Detroit MSA unemployment rate was three-tenths of a percentage point above the statewide annual rate.

Michigan payroll jobs increase in January

The monthly survey of employers recorded a total nonfarm job gain of 11,000, or 0.3 percent, in January, resulting in an employment total of 4,300,000.

Job changes in some industries were minor over the month, and the largest over-the-month job addition occurred in leisure and hospitality (+6,000).

Industry employment trends and highlights

  • Total payroll jobs rose by 217,000, or 5.3 percent, over the year. Despite this, nonfarm employment remained 153,000, or 3.4 percent, below the February 2020 pre-pandemic level.
  • Jobs in the state’s professional and business services sector were little changed in January but have rebounded by a strong 5.2 percent over the past year.
  • The largest over-the-year employment gain occurred in the state’s leisure and hospitality industry (+118,000), as workers returned to jobs in the restaurant industry. However, leisure and hospitality jobs remain over 36,000 below pre-pandemic levels.

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

Note: Data revisions

The data in this release reflects recently revised historical estimates. All states in the nation participate in this revision process facilitated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). 

Seasonally adjusted and unadjusted monthly labor force estimates from 2017–2021 for Michigan and the Detroit-Warren-Dearborn MSA were revised.

In addition, all unadjusted payroll job data was revised for 2020 and 2021. Seasonally adjusted payroll job data was revised back to 2017 for all industries. For certain industries with larger historical revisions, unadjusted and seasonally adjusted payroll job data was revised for multiple years, some back to 1990. For newly revised data, visit

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

An earlier issue with the monthly estimates of employment and unemployment for Michigan and the Detroit MSA for January through August 2021 has been corrected with the annual revision process. Users may download the revised data from the LMISI website. The updated complete historical data series is fully comparable for analysis of all months and years. Revised county data for 2021 will be released Thursday, March 17, 2022.