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2023 Annual Average Unemployment Rates by Race and Gender

Reviewing labor market trends among different demographic populations can highlight disparities among these groups. Demographic data for all states are published as an annual average by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics once a year. This data comes from the Current Population Survey (CPS), which is a different source than the standard monthly labor market information containing Michigan’s official unemployment rate, labor force, and payroll jobs. Comparisons should not be made with monthly data, as the demographic information presented here is a 12-month average for Michigan and the U.S.

Unemployment Rate by Race

Preliminary CPS data shows that Michigan’s average unemployment rates for 2022 and 2023 were little changed, at 4.1 and 3.9 percent respectively. While the unemployment rate for the total population showed little variation, the annual average unemployment rate for Black workers dropped by 1.5 percentage points in 2023 to 5.9 percent, making it one of the lowest years in history. White workers during this time only recorded a 0.1 percentage point drop between 2022 and 2023, to an average unemployment rate of 3.5 percent last year.

Black and White Labor Force

Michigan’s 4.1 percent growth in the labor force in 2023 was the fourth highest in the nation according to the Current Population Survey. This growth can be seen in multiple demographic groups as well. The annual average white workforce grew by 166,000 or 4.3 percent over the year, the highest annual average labor force growth for white workers among states. The number of Black individuals in Michigan’s labor force climbed to 655,000 on average in 2023, making it the highest Black labor force total in Michigan in at least 24 years. Since 2022, the state’s Black labor force grew by 5.5 percent or 34,000 workers, giving it the 10th highest growth rate for Black workers among states. 

Labor Force Participation has Surged for Black and White Workers Since 2022

Source: Current Population Survey, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


The increase in the state’s labor force was not due to an increase in the population, but was substantially caused by increased labor force participation. White workers increased their annual average labor force participation rate from 59.8 in 2022 to 61.9 in 2023. The annual average labor force participation rate for Black workers rose from 58.1 percent in 2022 to 61.3 percent in 2023. Labor force participation rates between white and Black workers has narrowed in recent years. In 2018, there was a 4.5 percentage points gap between the two groups, while in 2022 that difference was 1.7 percentage points. In 2023, the gap has essentially closed. In the U.S., the labor force participation rate for Black workers has been higher than for white workers for all of 2023.

Michigan Workforce Data by Race and Gender

Annual Average

White 2023

White 2022

Black 2023

Black 2022

Male 2023

Male 2022

Female 2023

Female 2022

Unemployment Rate 3.5 3.6 5.9 7.4 3.8 4.0 3.9 4.2
Labor Force Total 4,049,000 3,883,000 655,000 621,000 2,669,000 2,577,000 2,364,000 2,260,000
Labor Force Participation Rate 61.9 59.8 61.3 58.1 67.2 65.2 57.3 54.8

Source: Current Population Survey, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Unemployment Rate by Gender

The annual average unemployment rates for men and women have both declined slightly in 2023. The male rate fell by 0.2 percentage points to 3.8 percent in 2023, while the female rate fell 0.3 percentage points to 3.9 percent. Compared to five years ago, the annual average for men has declined by 0.7 percentage points since 2018, while the female rate was little changed over that same time period. Michigan’s annual average male unemployment rate matched the male U.S. rate in 2023, while the state’s female rate of 3.9 percent was slightly higher than the U.S. female unemployment rate of 3.5 percent.

Labor Force by Gender

In 2023, the preliminary annual average labor force for men rose by 92,000 workers, while female workers added 104,000 individuals. These were the largest annual average gains for both men and women in at least 20 years. Both genders also experienced a rise in their labor force participation rates in 2023. On average, Michigan’s male participation rate was 67.2 percent, while the female rate was 57.3. These rates were slightly lower than the U.S. 2023 average participation rates for men (68.1) and women (57.2).

Many Michigan Men and Women Rejoined the Labor Force in 2023


Source: Current Population Survey, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics