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Michigan unemployment rate falls again in March

LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate dropped by three-tenths of a percentage point during March to 4.4 percent, according to data released today by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget. The total number of employed advanced by 29,000 over the month, while the number of unemployed fell by 14,000, resulting in a statewide monthly labor force gain of 15,000.  

“The Michigan labor market has been positive this year,” said Wayne Rourke, associate director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. “Michigan’s jobless rate has averaged 4.7 percent so far in 2022, and the state has only recorded a lower annual rate twice in recent decades, the periods from 1997 to 2000 and 2017 to 2019.”

The national unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage points over the month to 3.6 percent and has dropped by 2.4 percentage points over the last year.

Michigan’s jobless rate fell by nearly two full percentage points since June 2021 and by 0.5 percentage points in just the last two months.

Labor force trends and highlights

  • Total employment in Michigan increased by 62,000 over the last three months, and the gain in March of 0.6 percent was comparable to the advance nationally.
  • The U.S. labor force gain of 2.4 percent over the year was a full percentage point larger than Michigan’s workforce increase during the same period (+1.4 percent).
  • Michigan’s first quarter 2022 jobless rate of 4.7 percent was down by half a percentage point from the prior quarter.
  • The March 2022 statewide unemployment rate of 4.4 percent remained 0.6 percentage points above the February 2020 pre-pandemic rate of 3.8 percent.

Detroit metro area unemployment rate declines over month

The Detroit-Warren-Dearborn Metropolitan Statistical Area’s (MSA) seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell by three-tenths of a percentage point in March to 4.7 percent. Employment advanced in the metro area by 11,000, while the number of unemployed decreased by 5,000. The Detroit MSA registered a net workforce gain for the third consecutive month.  

Over the year, the Detroit jobless rate fell by 2.0 percentage points, similar to the rate drop statewide. Employment rose by 87,000 or 4.4 percent, which was faster than the statewide rate of gain.

Recalls in manufacturing sector push up Michigan payroll jobs in March

According to the monthly survey of employers, Michigan seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs rose by 15,000, or 0.3 percent, over the month, resulting in a statewide total of 4,330,000 in March. 

Job change was minimal in several statewide industries in March. However, a significant job increase occurred in Michigan’s manufacturing sector (+8,000) due to the recall of auto workers from temporary layoffs.

Industry employment trends and highlights

  • Jobs rose in March in Michigan for the 11th consecutive month.
  • Job gains in the state have ranged from 12,000 to 17,000 for five consecutive months.
  • Most major industry sectors had employment hikes over the year, led by leisure and hospitality (+61,000).
  • The state’s education and health services sector was the only major industry with a minor over-the-year job reduction (-2,000).
  • Michigan’s average job count in the first quarter 2022 was about 43,000 above the prior quarter. This increase was in line with the quarterly gains registered in 2021.
  • Michigan total nonfarm jobs advanced by 174,000, or 4.2 percent, over the year. However, payroll employment remained 122,000, or 2.7 percent, below the February 2020 pre-pandemic level.

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