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Michigan Workforce Participation Increases Over the Year Across All Age Groups

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.

For this analysis, Michigan’s workforce data from the Current Population Survey was divided into three age cohorts: young adults, or those ages 16 to 24; the prime age adult workforce, ages 25 to 54; and older adults, workers age 55 or older. The 12-month moving average from March 2024 showed that young adults made up 14.8 percent of the total workforce, prime aged adults made up 61.6 percent of the workforce, and older adults age 55 and over accounted for approximately 23.5 percent of Michigan’s working population.

Unemployment Rates and Labor Force Participation Rates by Age Group, March 2023 vs. March 2024

(12-month Annual Averages)

Michigan unemployment rates and labor force participation rates by age group March 2023 March 2024

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

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Unemployment Rates for Young and Prime Aged Workers Decreased since March 2023

A comparison of Michigan 12-month moving average unemployment rate data demonstrated that unemployment rates decreased between March 2023 and March 2024 for the two cohorts comprising of those ages 16 to 54. Jobless rates declined by 0.7 percentage points for both young adults and those of prime working age. For those age 55 or older, the unemployment rate advanced by half a percentage point over the year. The national unemployment rate for young adults during March 2024 was comparable to the 12-month average rate seen in Michigan (8.6 percent versus 8.5 percent). Michigan’s adult workforce jobless rate, at 2.7 percent, was 0.7 percentage points lower than the nation’s adult rate. In contrast, the unemployment rate for those 55 and older was 0.4 percentage points higher in the state than the national rate of 2.7 percent.

An examination of Michigan unemployment rates by age comparing 12-month moving average data from March 2023 to March 2024 demonstrated that young adults experienced the largest monthly jobless rates out of all three cohorts, although the rate dipped from May to August of 2023 as young men and women found employment during the summer months. Jobless rates remained relatively stable for the adult workforce during 2023, then fell below 3.0 percent from December 2023 to March 2024. Joblessness for the older adult workforce expanded during the same time period, surpassing the adult cohort jobless rate from November 2023 onwards.

Unemployment rates have gone up slightly for older workers since March 2023.

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

Labor Force Participation Rose for All Three Age Groups Over the Year

Workforce participation advanced in all three cohorts in Michigan between March 2023 and March 2024. For the prime-aged adult population, labor force participation rose by 3.7 percentage points over the year. Labor force participation among younger adults advanced by 3.3 percentage points during the same period. Participation among older adults advanced the least out of the three age groups, increasing by 0.8 percentage points since March 2023.

From March 2023 to March 2024, 12-month moving average workforce participation rates remained relatively stable for all three age groups. During March 2024, the statewide average workforce participation rate for young adults and adults ages 25 to 54 surpassed labor force participation rates for both cohorts on the national level. U.S. workforce participation for those age 55 or older was 1.2 percentage points above the 12-month moving average rate for older adults in the state (38.7 versus 37.5 percent).

All three age groups demonstrate labor force participation growth since March 2023.

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