States Jobless Rate Falls

October 1, 2003
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LANSING — The Michigan Department of Career Development announced that August seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates fell in all of Michigan’s 12 major labor market areas.

“Jobless rates dropped seasonally in August throughout all of the larger labor market areas and almost all of the counties in the state,” said John Palmer, deputy director for work force programs of the MDCD. “In many areas, unemployment fell due to recalls of auto-related workers from temporary layoff. Some summer and seasonal workers also began leaving the labor force in August.”

Over the month, unemployment rate decreases for the 12 areas were significant, with a median decline of nine-tenths of a percentage point. Four areas recorded jobless rate drops of more than a full percentage point, including the Flint, Detroit, Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland, and Benton Harbor Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs).

Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland saw a drop in its unemployment rate from 54,000, or 8.5 percent, to 46,000, or 7.4 percent, representing a rate change of just over 1 percent.

All of the major areas’ rates declined by at least 0.7 percent with the exception of the Upper Peninsula, which registered a relatively minor jobless rate decrease of 0.3 percent.

From July to August, employment levels fell in 10 areas. For the most part, declines were moderate, averaging about 0.5 percent. The largest employment decreases were reported in the Detroit, Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland, and Ann Arbor MSAs. Employment in both the Benton Harbor and Flint MSAs increased in August.

Over the month, labor force levels dropped in all 12 major labor market areas. Declines were substantial with a median reduction of 1.4 percent.

From August 2002 to August 2003, unemployment rates rose in all 12 of the state’s major labor market areas, with increases ranging from 0.6 to 2.2 percentage points. In that period, the jobless rates in nine major areas increased by more than a full percentage point.

The monthly survey of employers indicated that seasonally unadjusted payroll jobs in Michigan decreased in August by 14,000 to total 4,369,000.

Payroll job cuts were recorded statewide in most industry sectors and were led by declines in leisure and hospitality services and government, which were each down by 8,000. Employment in other industry categories was sluggish over the month, with minor decreases registered in education and health services, retail trade, construction, and other services.

Somewhat offsetting the job losses in August were employment gains in both manufacturing, up by 9,000, and professional and business services, up 3,000. The increases in these two sectors can be traced primarily to the recall of workers laid off in July due to model-changeover activity in the auto industry.

Seventy-six of Michigan’s 83 counties recorded unemployment rate drops in August with a substantial median rate decline of almost a full percentage point. The jobless rates in 14 counties fell by more than two percentage points since July. Unemployment rates in four counties increased slightly while the rates in three counties were unchanged from July to August.           

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