States jobless rate climbing

July 20, 2009
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Michigan's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in June rose one and one-tenth percentage points to 15.2 percent, according to data released today by the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth. Unemployment increased significantly by 59,000 over the month while total employment fell by 35,000. The net result was a 24,000 advance in the state's labor force in June.

The U.S. unemployment rate increased slightly by one-tenth of a percentage point in June to 9.5 percent.

Michigan's June 2009 jobless rate jumped by seven and one-tenth percentage points above the June 2008 rate of 8.1 percent. In the same period, the national jobless rate rose by three and nine-tenths percentage points.

Several key industry sectors in Michigan showed weakness in June, led by a large drop in manufacturing jobs as restructuring in the auto industry continued. In addition to the auto impact, the jobless rate increase also reflected large numbers of job seekers pursuing seasonal jobs.

The total number of unemployed in the state reached 740,000 in June. This is the highest monthly total in Michigan's current official series dating back to 1976. June's unemployment rate was the highest for the state since May 1983.

Michigan's unemployment rate increases in the first half of 2009 have averaged eight-tenths of a percentage point per month.

From the first quarter to the second quarter 2009, the state's quarterly jobless rate increased by two full percentage points from 12.1 to 14.1. Over the quarter, unemployment rose sharply by 97,000 while total employment dropped by 95,000, leaving Michigan's labor force little changed in this period.

Since June 2008, unemployment in Michigan increased by 337,000, or 83.6 percent.  Unemployment nationally rose by 70.0 percent in the same period.

According to the monthly survey of employers, seasonally adjusted Michigan payroll jobs fell in June by 31,000 to total 3,846,000. The decline was essentially confined to three major industry sectors and was led by a job reduction in manufacturing (-19,000). Significant decreases were also recorded in professional and business services (-10,000) and construction (-5,000). Somewhat offsetting these losses was an over-the-month increase in government jobs (+5,000). The remaining major sectors registered only minor changes in June.

June marked the 12th consecutive monthly payroll job loss in Michigan. Over that period, monthly job reductions averaged 28,000. Monthly job cuts in the first six months of 2009 averaged 32,000, just slightly above the June decline.

The 10,000 over-the-month job loss in professional and business services was the largest monthly decline in this sector since December. This industry had been relatively steady from March though May.

After losing 54,000 jobs from December to January, manufacturing stabilized from January through March. However, since March, the manufacturing sector in Michigan has lost 56,000 jobs.

Education and health services reported a minor uptick in jobs over the month after three consecutive months of job loss. This sector remains the only major category in Michigan to show jobs gains over the year.

From June 2008 to June 2009, payroll jobs in Michigan fell by 338,000 or 8.1 percent. The industry sectors with the largest numerical job reductions in this period were manufacturing (-153,000), professional and business services (-69,000), and trade, transportation and utilities (-55,000). The industry sectors with the largest percentage declines in this period were manufacturing (-25.9 percent), construction (-18.4 per;cent) and professional and business services (-12.3 percent).

Seasonally adjusted average weekly hours and earnings of production workers in manufacturing rose over the month, but fell over the year.

Rick Waclawek is director of DELEG's Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. 

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