October Jobless Rates Decrease

December 4, 2003
| By Katy Rent |
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LANSING — The Michigan Department of Career Development has announced that October’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates fell slightly in eight of Michigan’s 12 major labor market areas.

Employment and labor force levels increased in nine areas over the month.

“Most of the major labor market regions in Michigan recorded typical seasonal workforce patterns in October by recording job gains in education and cuts in recreation and tourism,” said John Palmer, deputy director for workforce programs of the MDCD. “However, all of the state’s major areas continued to exhibit varying degrees of weakness in their respective labor markets over the year.”

The unemployment rate declines over the month in the eight areas were minor, with an average decline of 0.2 percent. The unemployment rate in the Upper Peninsula was unchanged over the month.

Jobless rates increased in three areas from September to October. The unemployment rate in the Lansing Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) spiked upward almost two full percentage points over the month due to short-term layoffs in the auto industry.

From September to October, employment followed seasonal trends as levels increased in nine areas. Gains were fairly substantial, with most areas’ employment levels up by around 1 percent or higher. The Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland MSA recorded a 0.9 percent gain from September to October and a 3.3 percent gain from year to year.

From October 2002 to October 2003, unemployment rates rose in all 12 of the state’s major labor market areas by 1.6 percentage points. The Jackson, Benton Harbor, Saginaw Bay-Midland and Lansing MSAs recorded the largest jobless rate hikes in that period.

The monthly survey of employers indicated that seasonally unadjusted payroll jobs in Michigan increased in October by 31,000 to total 4,465,000. Job gains occurred primarily in local government education, up by 22,000, and state government, which was up by 8,000, with the continued return of students to colleges, universities and local schools. The increase in local government education was evident statewide.

Offsetting movements among various industry categories left the private sector with only a 4,000 net increase in payroll jobs over the month. Within the private sector, gains in education and health services, up by 14,000, and retail trade, increasing 9,000, were contrasted by job losses in leisure and hospitality, down by 10,000, professional and business services, down by 7,000, and construction, down by 3,000.

Statewide, manufacturing employment was essentially unchanged over the month. Each major metropolitan area in the state recorded an increase in total payroll employment over the month, with the exception of the Lansing MSA.

Over the year, every major metropolitan area in Michigan recorded declines in total payroll employment, with losses ranging from a little over 1 percent to 2.5 percent.

Slightly more than half of Michigan’s 83 counties recorded unemployment rate increases in October while the rates in 31 counties decreased. The jobless rates in five counties were unchanged. The rate changes over the month were minimal, with about half the counties in the state registering increases or decreases of 0.2 percent or less.

Over the year, unemployment rates were up in 80 counties, with a substantial median increase of 1.5 percentage points.

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